Lets get one thing out the way before I go any further; Tableau is easy to use. So yes you may be thinking to yourselves why on earth would you spend time writing User Guides and Top Tips for end users of Tableau Server?! Well in short no matter how easy something is to use you will always have users who like to reference help material and be guided through their initial user experience of a product.
As part of our implementation of Tableau Server we created a range of Tableau help guides; ranging from one to two page 'Tableau Top Tips' to a full Tableau User Guide for interactors of our Tableau Server visualisations. Many users have commented on how helpful it is to be able to access basic help material when needed; helping them understand how to complete basic tasks that have been identified as being key to maximising a users experience of using Tableau Server.
Tableau Top Tips
The one to two page 'Tableau Top Tips' are intended to be quick guides, describing at most three to four steps to complete any of the following tasks
- Saving favourites and applying tags to filter visualisations
- Personalising your home page
- Saving filters (custom views)
- Exporting to PDF
Tableau User Guide
In addition to the Top Tips a full Tableau User Guide has been created to walk a user through their use of Tableau Server, offering them advice on key tasks and how to understand Tableau terminology such as projects, filters, tags, subscriptions and more.
All of the help material has been created in Microsoft Word and then created to PDF to allow us to easily share the material with our end users; then came the challenging question, if Tableau has no document management functionality how can these documents be made easily accessible to users? This is where Tableau Assist comes into its own!
What is Tableau Assist I hear you all say?! It is a Tableau Project that has been created with a single workbook within it. This workbook is based on a Microsoft Excel Workbook that has the following tabs in it:
- Report library
Many of our users often feedback that it is amazing Tableau has so much rich content relating to so many different aspects of the organisation however sometimes it can become difficult to find which content is relevant to them and which are the priority reports. In addition to encouraging people to use Tags and Custom Homepage to overcome this challenge we have created a report library with a link through to the individual Tableau workbooks so users can access a quick overview of all of our Tableau content.
- Tableau Help Guides
We have uploaded all of our Tableau Top Tips and our Tableau User Guide to our internal sharepoint site and then embedded the link to each of the files into the Excel workbook, effectively creating a Tableau contents page for our help material, allowing users to click on the Tableau shape within the table and be taken straight to the guides. This gives users the impression Tableau is storing all of the documents in one place but in reality its only the front end visualisation in Tableau.
- Tableau support calendar
OK before I go any further I created the support calendar based on a massively helpful how to guide written by Andy Kriebel (Creating an interactive monthly calendar in Tableau is easier than you might think ). Personally I love this innovative way of using Tableau. The dats source contains only a small number of columns (I have done it slightly differently from Andy and within the data source listed all potential days rather than using an additional source for the available dates), Date, Event description, Event type, How to register, Location and Time. Users can then interact in Tableau Assist and view all upcoming support events. We run one face to face Tableau walk in surgery a month, numerous online webinars, dedicated Tableau training sessions for individual teams and also development mornings that go into more than just Tableau (for example how to interpret and analyse data).
- Your Information Team contact details
A list of contact details for all of our analysts who are responsible for developing our Tableau content.
- Your Tableau Champions contact details
A list of all of our Tableau Champions (end users who are so passionate about Tableau that they have volunteered their time to be Tableau Champions, helping promote the use of Tableau across the organisation and help the analysts in developing new content and enhancing existing content). As a thankyou to our Champions we hold 2 half day events a years to keep them up to date and involved.
The Information Team maintain the content of the Tableau Assist Workbook Data Source to ensure Tableau Assist is kept up to date and as such provides a helpful one stop shop of all advice related to Tableau.
To allow you all to see, and hopefully, replicate Tableau Assist (that's if you think it is a good thing of course!) I have uploaded an example Tableau Workbook to my Tableau Public account (Tableau Public ) and I have attached to this blog a copy of the Tableau Excel data source.
A selection of the Tableau Top Tips and the Tableau User Guide have been attached to this blog as Microsoft Word files, I assumed if we have taken the time and effort to create them why expect you to waste your time replicating them! Please do not hesitate to use any of the attached help material and customise them with your corporate branding, all I ask is that you acknowledge the material came from Southern Health and myself and reference this in the footer of the material, and of course a shout out on Twitter letting everyone know you found the material useful would always be appreciated....@simonbeaumont04.
Thanks to everyone for reading and I hope you find the help material useful.