Dashboard Guide: Brushing
Brushing is a powerful technique that allows you to interact with your data and explore relationships between different visualizations. Selecting a portion of data in one chart can highlight corresponding data points in other visualizations. This is an excellent feature for creating insightful, interactive dashboards.
Let’s assume we are working with sales data from a retail store, with charts displaying revenue by product category, the quantity sold over time, and a geographical heat map of sales. We’ve added a bar chart for revenue by product category, a line chart for the quantity sold over time, and a geographical heat map of sales.
Here are the steps to implement brushing in your dashboard:
- Enable brushing: In your dashboarding tool, look for a feature or option that allows you to activate brushing. This may be called “brushing,” “linked selections,” “cross-filtering,” or something similar. This option is usually found in the settings or properties panel for each visualization or the dashboard as a whole. Enable brushing for all the visualizations you want to connect.
- Define the linking fields: Specify the fields you want to use for brushing. These fields will be used to link the visualizations, so it’s essential that they have the same data type and format across different data sources. In our example, you might want to link the product category field between the bar chart and the line chart and the geographical location field between the line chart and the heat map.
- Set up the brushing behavior: Configure how the brushing interaction should behave in each visualization. You might need to choose between different brushing modes, such as single selection, multiple selection, or rectangular selection. Some tools also let you customize the appearance of the brushed data, such as changing the color or opacity of the selected and non-selected data points.
- Test the brushing interaction: After configuring the brushing settings, interact with your visualizations to make sure the brushing works as expected. For example, you could click on a specific product category in the bar chart and see if the line chart and heat map update accordingly to show the sales data for the selected category.
- Refine and iterate: Based on your testing, you may need to adjust the brushing settings, linking fields, or brushing behavior to improve the user experience or better align with your analysis goals. Keep iterating and refining your brushing setup until you achieve the desired result.
- Educate users: Ensure that the users of your dashboard understand how to use the brushing feature. You can provide tooltips, written instructions, or even a short tutorial video to help them get the most out of this powerful interaction technique.