Latest Enterprise DNA Initiatives

Advanced Visualization Techniques (Parts 1 and 2) – the Fourth and Fifth New Courses on Enterprise DNA’s Educational Platform in 2021

Enterprise DNA Members,

This month, we are doubling down on our promise to provide you a brand-new platform course every month by releasing TWO courses (over 7.5 hours of material!) taught by Enterprise DNA Expert @MudassirAli For those of you not familiar with Mudassir, he is a Management Accountant by training but also one of the most creative and accomplished report designers in the world (a three-time Enterprise DNA Data Challenge winner), whose iconic designs include the following:

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When I hear the word “visualization” in conjunction with report development, I think of two distinct things: 1) the choice and configuration of the graphics used to communicate the results of your analyses in interesting and insightful ways, but also 2) the overarching look and feel of a report, including the colors, fonts, images and navigational aspects that together define the user experience (UX).

In Part One of his course, Mudassir actually starts with this second aspect, discussing where he finds inspiration for his creative designs, and his philosophy and specific approaches to designing a beautiful and intuitive user experience, including an in-depth discussion of his best practices. He then walks through creative ways in which you can make the most of the native visuals within Power BI, and closes Part One with an exploration of some of his favorite custom visuals.

Part Two of the course is a deep dive into how to create your own custom visuals using Microsoft’s Charticulator tool. While a very powerful tool in your visualization toolbox, Charticulator is nonintuitive and not something you can easily figure out just by playing with it. However, Mudassir has become a virtuoso in the use of Charticulator, and clearly guides you through step-by-step in how to use it to create a wide variety of visuals not available natively or via custom visuals. There is a mistaken impression that Charticulator is just for creating esoteric visuals, but it actually can be used very effectively to create some standard visual types that just make better use of space than the native visuals.

With the release earlier this month of the Charticulator custom visual, this is a great time to learn how to use this tool since being able to create your own custom visuals within Power BI is now much faster than doing so using the prior web version. Just yesterday, Enterprise DNA Expert @JarrettM remarked to me about Mudassir, *“Love his content on his approach to visualizations and Charticulator. I’m his #1 fan!”

I think there is a tendency when you see an incredibly creative report to think that “I can’t do that, I’m not that artistically talented”, but Mudassir clearly makes the point that these are specific skills that CAN be learned. While sound data modeling and insightful analyses are critically important, the first impression most people will have of your report pertains to your visualizations. If you want to level up the impact that your reports have with your management, your clients, the public, or other stakeholders, we think you’ll find this course extremely valuable as well as entertaining.

Huge thanks to Mudassir for the time and effort he put into these courses, and for sharing his amazing gifts with us all.

  • Brian
3 Likes

All,

Here is an interview that @sam.mckay and I did with @MudassirAli earlier this week about the release of his Advanced Visualization courses. We all had a lot of fun with this one, and toward the end, @MudassirAli does a really interesting real-time demo of the new Charticulator custom visual. Enjoy!

  • Brian
3 Likes

Really looking forward to working through these courses, fantastic stuff folks!

DJ

4 Likes

@DavieJoe,

Thanks! Always really appreciate your enthusiastic support.

BTW, Happy Cake Day today:

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– Brian

2 Likes

One year of using the forum today, nice!
Think I will actually buy some cake, would be rude not to.

This forum has been fantastic for me, learnt so much, an environment where you feel comfortable asking questions, great courses, great members & great experts.

I’m always telling other Power BI folks about eDNA as I feel they are missing out.

3 Likes

Thanks @BrianJ for this post and amazing interview. You asked very relevant questions indeed. I watched this interview and I am not good in visualizations at all. So, I am eager to learn techniques shared by @MudassirAli. Started part-1 now :slight_smile:

Cheers!

1 Like

@hafizsultan,

Eager to get your feedback on the courses. For me as well, visualization is the weakest of the four pillars. However, just having a chance to work side-by-side with @MudassirAli on the JMAP Data Challenge team has really helped advance my skills in that area, and he covers many of the same topics that we discuss on the team in his courses. Just the observation he made from the interview about minimizing the use of slicers and instead using other visuals to cross-filter has given me a ton of food for thought on my current reports.

Be sure to check out Monday’s upcoming EDNA TV YouTube video. @sam.mckay walks through in detail the navigation structure that @MudassirAli created for the most recent JMAP Challenge entry, and it is an absolute masterpiece of UX design.

  • Brian
2 Likes

@hafizsultan I do hope that you get better in visualization after the course. The problem is we do not spend a lot of time in visualizations as we do in learning formulas (in excel) & Dax/M Language in Power BI. I can easily say most of us spend 90% of the time in data transformation, modelling & in creating measures & only 10% in overall report format, layout & visualizations. Believe me or not, one has to spend an equal amount of time in learning how to create a visually good looking report.

I would be happy to help if you face some problems in some design aspects of the report.

Finishing line:
“If a homeless person comes to us & gives a great sales pitch we might not even bother to hear him out but that won’t be the case if the same person comes in suit & boots.”

2 Likes

Hi @BrianJ,

Thanks for your notification of this course and letting me know about the upcoming EDNA TV Youtube video. Definitely, I will check out that. Regarding course feedback, I have quickly completed part-1 of this course and is amazing. The techniques mentioned by @MudassirAli are very valuable to create stunning visualizations. Only issue that I observed is the video of “Donut Chart” which is not aligned with the audio and some video part is missing(though not a big issue :)) I am ready to jump into part-2 of this course.

@sam.mckay has done an amazing job to create this whole echo system. Courses by the experts on their fields are pure gold. Like initial courses by @sam.mckay, then visualization course by @MudassirAli, upcoming M language courses by @Melissa and new and updated content by you and other experts is really amazing. Not to mention the value of support forum is mind blowing. Really amazing.

Kind Regards,
Hafiz

2 Likes

Hi @MudassirAli,

Thanks for your detailed explanation. I have thoroughly enjoyed part-1 of the course and I am looking forward to see course-2 as well.

You are right about data transformation/modelling stuff. Currently my organization hasn’t moved to Power BI, so I am learning on my own but not getting enough practice. Most of the time, I am working on SQL/SSRS/SSIS stuff. May be I should get some time to participate in the challenges. Hopefully I will after completing part-2 :), thanks for this amazing content.

Kind Regards,
Hafiz

I also spotted the issue with the doughnut module video that @hafizsultan. The video drops out to a static screen so we cannot see what @MudassirAli is trying to show us.

@DavieJoe, @hafizsultan,

Thanks, guys! Not sure what happened there, but will work with @MudassirAli to get that module replaced ASAP.

  • Brian
1 Like