Data visualisation that tells stories.

Dashboard Design.

Eds. was approached by a primary school in West Sydney and asked to  support them with their data visualisation. Specifically, they wanted Eds. to design and build an original data dashboard to visualise the outputs that were important to their staff and students i.e. levels of growth. Their other requirements included; the dashboard had to be easy for all staff to interact with and clear visualisation that updated as soon as new data was entered and easy to navigate. The Eds. team went away and came up with several solutions for the school to choose from.


The Challenge.

Schools throughout New South Wales already have access to multiple dashboards from various national and state bodies. These are often built-in platforms such as PowerBI and other BI programs. Therefore, we had several challenges; firstly, understanding what worked for the school, what aspects they liked and disliked about the platforms they currently used. Secondly what design-based solution would work best for this school and their demographic which lead into the third challenge how could we engage all teaching staff with the data regardless of whether they were comfortable with technology.

Through workshops, in-depth desktop research and an iterative design process we created several versions of a dashboard. During this process became clear that the Executive Team and teachers wanted a dashboard that told a story about their student’s journey both past and present, and the growth and development each cohort was achieving throughout the school year. Therefore, we had to create a solution that provided all of this as well as user friendly design.

Our Solution.

After trialling various platforms, we landed upon Tableau. The dashboard provided a clear overview of the school’s data, whilst allowing the viewer to drill down into each cohort using the easily accessible filter. The design also included a coloured key to allow the user to differentiate between those students meeting the average, falling below and achieving beyond the expected growth level. The dashboard was broken down into various themes including whole school, students enrolled in targeted intervention programs and students with English as an Additional Language. Through simply and clear layering and filtering complex data Eds. was able to tell the students’ growth story through clear and engaging visuals that updated in real-time. This dashboard is currently being used weekly by the Executive and Staff at the school to establish the impact of various interventions and track progress.

The example below is an interactive dashboard of a school network displaying information from their Strategic Improvement Plans. It breaks down what their strategic directions are and what data sources they plan on using to track their goals. The information displayed can be filtered in many ways and showcases some of the ways in which data can be visualised for executives and teachers to gain a better understanding of the data allowing it to be analysed effectively. These techniques can tailor to your schools needs to display the types of information explained above to visualise and identify student needs.