What does it look like when you take a timebound, static report and make it an interactive, living document? It might look like the Tableau Foundation’s new Living Annual Report.
This report, which we first shared last week, represents our effort to be transparent grantmakers, to be accountable to the public and our employees.
Instead of building a new report every year, we were curious to see if using Tableau would provide near-real-time analysis of our work while still fulfilling the core needs of the traditional annual report.
We knew that by using Tableau, our living report would inherently be sharable and publicly accessible. We also wanted to add interactivity so that readers can ask and answer their own questions of the data.
My team members and I have read through countless annual reports, and in doing so, we’ve all wished that we could ask more specific questions of that data without having to reach out to the non-profit.
On a personal level, as the data manager for the Tableau Foundation, I wanted to create a frequently-updated report that wouldn’t take hours of extra work. So we had to make something that could plug into our existing data sources and automatically update whenever we ingest new data.
After several drafts and rounds of feedback, here’s what we came up with:
This report fit the big requirements we originally laid out—it was interactive, sharable, and useful. Plus updating the data would take just two minutes each week in the form of republishing to Tableau Public.
Like any large, multi-dashboard project, we spent a fair chunk of time thinking about the visualizations and how we wanted to display the information before we even opened Tableau. Here are a few of the lessons we learned along the way: