Page Filters vs Filter Pane

Hi All,

In my current role we have report design principles & themes etc.

One of the design principles is to only have filters/slicers in the Filter Pane and zero on the actual report page. The on page visuals will still interact/filter the other on page visuals etc.

I just wanted to hear other peoples thoughts on this, positive & negative.

Hello @DavieJoe,

Thank You for posting your query onto the Forum.

I’m providing few of the links of the videos where they put forward the thoughts about whether to go for “Slicers” or “Filter Panel” and covers almost all the points.

Hoping you find this useful. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks and Warm Regards,
Harsh

2 Likes

Thanks Harsh, appreciate those links.

Hello @DavieJoe,

You’re Welcome. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m glad that I was able to help you.

Thanks and Warm Regards,
Harsh

1 Like

Hi @DavieJoe

Think @Harsh has got you covered but there is also a lot you can achieve with buttons… didn’t read a restriction on that so maybe that can give you some additional flexibility and is worth exploring.

2 Likes

Hi @Melissa

Yes, we do use buttons and I have used them to slice the on screen info.

I guess I feel sometimes, from a user experience, some on screen slicers can make things a bit more intuitive.

Hello @DavieJoe,

As my colleague @Melissa mentioned if you’re looking for some buttons and bookmarks technique. Here’re few of the links on it.

Hoping this also helps and find it useful. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks and Warm Regards,
Harsh

2 Likes

A veritable treasure trove @Harsh

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Just adding my 2 cents here…

Stage 1 - When I first started designing in PowerBi, the filter pane did not exist, and so I used a LOT of tricks to put filters on the page without having them always visible (such as a hide/show panel controlled with buttons and bookmarks). A pain for designing, but great for my users.

Stage 2 - filter panel came along, and decided this was my solution. I didn’t need to hide the filters anymore, the filter panel would do this for me! Great, right?
Not so much… when I don’t hide the filter pane, I have to control the filters for each visual, are they going to be visible (confusing many of my users), or will I have to hide every element of each visual?
And my users get frustrated needing to go to the filter panel for things like date EVERY TIME.
Also, you can’t control what visuals are being filtered by items on the filter pane.

Stage 3 - I went back to all filters on the report, labeling one page as “filters”, and just provided a button to zip back to the filter page for the users. Again, not ideal.

Stage 4 (current stage, and a compromise) - I now limit myself to no more than 4 slicers on a page, and any additional filters go into the filter pane.
Filters on the page are of the following types:

  1. anything that needs to filter only certain visuals
  2. filters that are going to be used most commonly by my report consumers (like date or account rep)
  3. anything that I think will add to the visual story of the page (possibly an account name, or product category)

Filter Pane:

  1. The filter pane is always open when users first open the report (that is the state I upload it in)
  2. any bookmarks are made with the filter pane open (again, easier for users)
  3. yes, I am meticulous about the visual filters on the filter pane, one of the last things I do before uploading a report to the service is to check EVERY visual (card, slicer, table, chart, etc) to be sure that all of the filters on that visual are hidden. I only want my users to see filters from the “on this page” or “on all pages” sections.

Hope this helps some. And yes, Harsh has definitely provided a wealth of data in his post above. Good luck.

5 Likes

In addition to all the valid points already made by @Heather

I try to limit my use of Slicers as well, additional considerations can be:

  • It’s another visual to load on the page
  • It consumes space (Yes, I know you can hide / unhide them if you wanted…)
  • It can be confusing for the user if allowed to set both (Slicers and Filter pane)
3 Likes

Hey @Heather

thanks for the fantastic fulsome response, exactly what I was looking for in terms of nuance!

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happy to help -
I should have added that I do have a stage 5 (my wishlist)

  1. that there be a ‘one click’ option to turn off the filters on the visuals (probably by visual, not a single click for the report) in the filter pane
  2. allow filters in the filter pane to be turned off/on for certain visuals (mimic the interactive options of slicers on the page)
  3. allow filters in the filter pane to be active on multiple pages, but perhaps exclude a page (similar to the sync slicers options)
  4. allow for a date slider type of filter in the filter pane (yes, I know that there is a ‘between’ dates option - but it’s a bit clumsy for end users)

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones that really frustrate me or my users

2 Likes

I’d agree with them all @Heather

Like you said I’m wishing for a ‘one click’ option to turn off the filters on all visuals, with the ability to cherry pick those that do.

@DavieJoe,

I think a lot of it depends on the experience and sophistication of your user base. We’re in the very early stages of widespread deployment of Power BI in our organization, which very much influences the approach I take to your questions. At this point, the vast majority of my users are just getting their feet wet with Power BI, and so my focus is on making the experience as easy and “cool” for them as possible.

IMO, for the new user there is no comparison in user experience between slicers and the filter panel. Thus, I put a lot of effort into dressing up my slicers (almost always using SmartFilter Pro, which I think has both a great look and UX), denormalizing my dimension tables so that the slicers filter each other in an intuitive way, and generally keeping users away from the Filter Panel entirely.

Also, on every report I use the same icon on every page to provide users a way to easily clear all filters on a page.

I love Heather’s approach, and as my users get more experience, likely will move to a model similar to hers but at this point from an interactive standpoint I’m all in on slicers and buttons.

Great question – I don’t recall this issue being discussed before on the forum, and am enjoying hearing everyone’s perspective on how they approach this.

  • Brian
1 Like

There have been a few postings for this in the ideas forum:




But it never seems to get many votes, and then it vanishes into the ‘noise’ of the ideas list (I had to go through 15 pages of a search “turn off filter this visual in filter pane” to find these, and none has over 30 likes. :frowning:

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Thanks for your thoughts @BrianJ and I’ll check out SmartFilter Pro also.

Our user base, the vast majority, are pretty new to Power BI so we are trying to keep things as simple as possible and all filters are housed in the Filter Pane. We are using buttons on pages to allow visuals to change through different groupings such as totals by day, week, month for example.

I think we are following a similar path in that we will add more advanced features as the data/report literacy grows in the organisation.

Some of the small steps we have taken include;

  1. We have created an internal Wiki site that breaks each report down and has all the KPI definitions & Calculations detailed

  2. Created a small library of videos showing how to Get an App, how to use the date filter, create personal bookmarks

  3. Have some text detail on the page explaining/highlighting a feature on a visual.

3 Likes

@DavieJoe,

Sounds like we are taking very similar approaches, even down to the detailed steps you cited. Here’s a snap from a report we’re rolling out this week.

Each icon click triggers “window” to open, with additional information and links (except the first one, which opens a PowerPoint file in presentation mode. Also using the technique below that I borrowed (OK, stole…tomato, tomahto) from @MudassirAli’s recent challenge entry (BTW - the eDNA Data Challenges are probably the best source around of innovative ideas for addressing these sorts of UX considerations ) of putting a small ? icon on many of my visuals that triggers another bookmarked “window” with additional information about the visual. Here’s one example from my most recent Data Challenge entry, which triggers the Key in the following visual:

The wiki is a great idea though that I haven’t tried. Any way you could post an example/screenshot with any confidential information blurred out?

Thanks.

  • Brian
1 Like

@BrianJ

We create links for the business areas then we also have an image from each report as a tile.

Front page has all the reports with a tile each and a small description of the report, like a mini library. If you click on the image you will get taken to the wiki page for the report where you can get your information around who the data owners are, what data is used, the KPI logic/definition, refresh schedule, business dependencies, links to the App it’s stored in or a link directly to the report

@DavieJoe,

NIce! What software do you use for the wiki info?

  • Brian
1 Like

The dreaded SharePoint :rofl: