Spark-line is a very handy data visualization technique! It’s great when you are space constrained to show trends among multiple data points.
Here’s an example:
But there’s an issue with above chart! Axis values for these group of spark-lines do not seem match – it could throw someone off if they didn’t pay close attention. So a good practice – when you know users are going to compare segments based on the spark-lines – is to assign them same axis values so it’s easier to compare. Here’s the modified version:
And…here are the steps:
1. Make sure that spark-lines are grouped.
Select the spark-lines > go to toolbar > Sparkline Tools > Design > Group
2. On the “group” section, you’ll also find the “Axis” option – select that and make sure that “same for all axis” is selected for Vertical axis minimum and maximum values:
That’s about it. Just a quick formatting option that makes your spark-lines much more effective!
Author: Paras Doshi
I’m at PASS Summit 13 this week and I’m seeing nice amount of excitement among Business Intelligence Pros about “Power BI” so I thought I would post a brief post about problems that Power BI addresses:
#1: Mobile BI:
- The Visualizations that you’ll publish to Power BI sites would use the HTML 5 rendering & hence the support for Mobile BI.
- There’s also a native Microsoft Power BI app for Windows 8 so you can use surface tablets for Mobile BI. IOs (apple) or Android native apps have NOT been announced yet.
#2: An end-to-end self-service suite of tools for Power Users:
- Users will be enabled to search, analyze and visualize data using Power Query, Power Pivot & Power View. Plus it allows them a way to collaborate with each other.
#3: Easier way to search for data that’s available inside & outside for organization:
- One of the key themes of “Power BI” has been easier discovery of data that’s available to you to analyze.
- This is really important from an adoption standpoint because with the technologies that we have today, we can’t enable power users to search for “data-sets”. Power BI enables IT to publish Data Catalogs which I imagine would make it easier for power users to search & connect to data sets & start analyzing!
#4: cool tools that people *want* to use it.
- Power BI has rich user experience.
- Users can build cool visualizations & create some business value
- Since this is a “self-service” suite, it seems to be designed as a user-friendly set of tools. This is important because if a user is “confused” or “over whelmed” then they are not going to use the tool & find something else.
#5: Gateway to the future:
- The Human-computer interaction is evolving. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen tools like Siri (apple audio powered personal assistant) which allows users to use “Natural Language” to interact with computers
- Power BI has a tools called “Q&A” that allows users to do business analysis using “Natural Language”. I don’t know the maturity of the current offering but I’m excited about the possibilities that this could offer in future!
- Imagine a computer (in some amazing futuristic form) and you say to it “sales trend in north america region during past 12 months” and it gives a you nice trend chart that you can use to start analysis.
Cost-benefit analysis of this cloud-powered suite of tools*
- (Book Mark for future editing: The cost of the tool & its general availability is not announced, so I didn’t talk about the cost-benefits that we might see so I’ll defer this analysis until after the details are announced)
What do you think? What are the problems and pain-points that Power BI is trying to solve?