We are thrilled to announce that Unilytics has joined Optimus SBR
Learn more

Tableau Visualization Best Practices Course Description

Home   / Tableau Visualization Best Practices Course Description

This course will introduce you to the basic features and functions of Tableau, best practices for visualizing data based on scientific research, and a basic process for defining requisite information prior to dashboard design or creation. It’s ideal for new Tableau users or those with little or no Tableau experience. You’ll gain fundamental skills to visualize your data, use a wide variety of visual types, connect to data, create basic calculations, build interactive dashboards, share visualizations, and more!

In addition, this course will introduce you to capturing essential information for good dashboard design. This course is designed to help you understand the important concepts and techniques used in Tableau to move from simple to complex visualizations and learn how to combine them in interactive dashboards. This class also covers best practices when visualizing data and establishing requisite information prior to creating dashboards


No prerequisite experience is needed, and no technical or analytical background is required.


This is a live, instructor-led, online course and consists of hands-on activities, interactive dashboard review and critique, visual science review, and lecture. Class discussion and open Q & A are incorporated throughout the course to enhance learning.


A training guide, all presentations, and other documents referenced during the training are provided to students. Additional resources such as Tips & Hints and special requests are also included.


Visualization Best Practices Course Topics

Introduction and Overview

  • Level Setting – Terminology
  • Getting Started – creating some powerful visualizations quickly

Getting Started

  • Connecting to Data and introduction to data source concepts
  • Working with data files versus database servers
  • Data Types and Roles
  • Dimension versus Measures
  • Discrete versus Continuous
  • The meaning of pill colors
  • Understanding the Tableau workspace
  • Dimensions and Measures
  • Using Show Me!
  • Tour of Shelves (How shelves and marks work)
  • Building Basic Views
  • Help Menu and Samples
  • Saving and Sharing your work

Concepts and Options when Connecting to Data

  • Overview of other connection options
  • Joining multiple tables
  • Copy and Paste
  • Data Extracts
  • Publishing and Re-using Data Connections
  • Understand how to deal with data changes in your data source such as field addition, deletion or name change
  • Re-using and sharing data connections – the concept of meta data
  • Working with multiple connections in the same workbook


  • Creating Views
  • Marks
  • Size and Transparency
  • Highlighting
  • Working with Dates
  • Chart Types
  • Geographic Map
  • Paging / Trails
  • Heat Map
  • Scatter Plots
  • Bar Charts
  • Crosstabs / Text Tables
  • Sparklines
  • Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Bands
  • Analyzing
  • Sorting & Grouping
  • Aliases
  • Filtering and Quick Filters
  • Cross-Tabs (Pivot Tables)
  • Totals and Subtotals
  • Drilling Down and Drill Through
  • Aggregation and Disaggregation
  • KPI Symbols / Shapes

Getting Started with Calculated Fields

  • Basic Arithmetic Calculations
  • Working with Totals
  • Custom Aggregations
  • Logic Statements

Working with Parameters

  • Parameter Basics
  • Data types of parameters
  • Using parameters in calculated fields
  • Inputting parameter values and parameter control options
  • Using parameters for field selections, logic statements, Top X

Building Interactive Dashboards

  • Combining multiple visualizations into a dashboard
  • Making your worksheet interactive by using actions and filters
  • Quick Filters
  • Dashboard Objects
  • Filter Actions
  • Highlighting and Actions
  • Performance

Best Practices in Dashboard Design

  • Define “dashboard”
  • Introduce end-user perspective
  • Define the three types of dashboards
  • Understand the characteristics of each type of dashboard
  • Review examples of types of dashboards
  • Test your understanding of the three types of dashboards

Hacking the Human Brain

  • How were best practices uncovered?
  • Understand the difference between perception and cognition
  • See examples of dashboards that employ perception versus cognition
  • Introduce visual memory, especially visual short-term memory
  • See perceptual popout in action
  • Define the relationship between visual memory and visual processing
  • Categorize and see examples of each type of visual feature that takes advantage of visual memory
  • Test your own visual processing abilities
  • Approaches to avoid with visual features
  • Define and provide examples of the three types of data
  • Align types of data with optimal visual features to use

Common Mistakes

  • List the most common mistakes designers make
  • Lack of Context
  • Excessive Detail or Precision
  • Scrolling
  • Poor Measure Selection
  • Inappropriate Visual Features
  • Poor Use of Visual Features
  • Meaningless Variety
  • Incorrectly Encoding Quantitative Data
  • Poor Arrangement
  • Inappropriate or Missing Highlighting
  • Non-Functional Decoration
  • Misuse or Excessive Use of Color
  • Poor Visual Aesthetic
  • See examples of each type of mistake
  • Discuss more appropriate approaches for each type of mistake

Visual Best Practices

  • Understand the need for best practices
  • See examples of best practices in action
  • Introduce the long history of excellent visuals
  • See and critique several examples of visuals
  • Highlight mistakes in visual feature use
  • Arrive at solutions for each
  • Dashboard areas and implicit importance
  • Proper use of color
  • Implications for color blindness and color deficiency
  • Organization of visuals to take advantage of visual processing

Capturing Requirements

  • See an example of a recommend requirements checklist
  • Work through an exercise in capturing requirements via a checklist


  • Review the types of charts in Tableau
  • See examples of each type of chart
  • Understand when each type of chart is appropriate
  • Importance of consistency

Sharing Workbooks

  • Publish to Reader
  • Packaged Workbooks
  • Publish to Office
  • Publish to PDF
  • Publish to Tableau Server and Sharing over the Web

Putting it all together

  • Scenario-based Review Exercise
  • Applying Visual Best Practices to Dashboard Construction

Where to get Further Assistance

  • The Help File / Product Manual
  • Knowledge base
  • Forums
  • Whitepapers & Books
  • Further Training Offerings & Professional Services
  • Technical Support


Want to know more?

Contact us