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Trying to grasp the entire Bookmarks thing

I look at a lot of the designs that are coming back for the challenges and realize that my skills are very very lacking in the design area.

This is especially true in the area related to the use of Bookmarks. I think that this could be a very useful thing for the reports I’m generating for our “powers that be” but I’m not really sure how to go about it. I see the reports that are being submitted and wonder how to do that.

Can anyone point me to something a bit more comprehensive on how to really use bookmarks. There are numerous videos out there from Guy in a Cube, Microsoft, Curbal, etc. but they are generally very short and don’t help me much.

Has Sam done anything on Bookmarks (if so I haven’t located it) or is he planning a couple of days Workshop on this subject.

This in a lot of ways reminds me of the other post about nervousness when doing DAX - I can relate to it. Guess I have my own nervousness about using Bookmarks.

Any thoughts would be welcome.

Guy

@GuyJohnson,

Bookmarks are still useful and have their place, but I actually use them much less than I used to now that direct page navigation actions can be assigned to buttons and images. This has been IMO one of the best recent features added to Power BI, since bookmarks can be fussy and hard to maintain since you need to keep very careful track of the filter context you want the bookmark to reflect. Direct Page Navigation makes all of this much easier, and I’ve used it extensively in the Challenge reports I’ve posted so far and the one I will be posting later today.

To do this, just click on the button or image you want to assign an action to, go to the paint roller, turn Action on, choose Page Navigation as the action type, choose the page you want to have the button navigate to, add a tooltip for instructions if you want, and then click OK. Simple as that - you just need to make sure that your buttons throughout the report create a logical navigation “flow” for the user and don’t leave them stranded.

I hope that’s helpful.

  • Brian

Thanx @BrianJ that helps some.

I’ll take a look at page navigation and also look for any videos out there.

Guess I just have a giant fear of falling on my face with something the Company COO will be looking at.

@GuyJohnson,

Hey, use the forum as your virtual sounding board. We are always happy to look at any aspect of your reports and provide input. The data challenges are also an awesome way to test out ideas you may want to incorporate into your real-life reports, and see how other members respond to them. In addition, there’s absolutely no better constructive critical review then the individual reviews that @sam.mckay has been doing for each of the member submissions.

  • Brian

P.S. I’ll dig up some good videos for you on the Direct Page Navigation, but I think if you just give it a try you’ll find it needs very little additional explanation to do some really impressive looking things.

Hello @GuyJohnson,

Thank You for posting your query onto the Forum.

Well onto the education portal there are several videos which are available under the Learning Summit Series where Sam has created several videos which covers topic related to the Bookmarks.

I’m providing some of the links of the videos available from the education portal as well as from other sources based on this topic. And I’m sure there are some more videos available on our education portal and you can definitely check it out.

Hoping you find this useful. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks & Warm Regards,
Harsh

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@GuyJohnson,

This is really all you need to know about direct page navigation in 3 1/2 minutes, and half that time is spent talking about how much easier this is than maintaining bookmarks… :smiley:

  • Brian

Thanx again to @BrianJ and @Harsh for the feedback.

Guess I’ll have to make some time (hopefully) and just do a challenge and submit it with the techniques I now use and wait for the analysis by the experts (not me).

Trying to get to the videos provided.

Guy

@GuyJohnson

The attached are a couple of simple models I created to answer some forum questions previously.
One demonstrates a simple toggle between visuals (on the same page)
The other demonstrates tricks for hiding items and using bookmarks.

Hidden Page Navigation.pbix (57.4 KB)
Toggle between charts with buttons.pbix (39.6 KB)

Hopefully these will give you some insight - but as others have mentioned, the basics on using bookmarks are fairly straightforward. I suspect what you are struggling with is the ‘Art’ part.

Always keep in mind, you need to decide what works best for you and your viewers.

off topic example: while I love the ‘shades of a single color’ type of reports (like Sam creates) - but I have a user who cannot handle reports like that due to their eyesight, so I have to include multiple colors in my reports.

Thanx @Heather for the information.

I’ll download and go through the .pbix files later as my schedule permits

As to the “shades of a single color” or even multiple colors I sometimes wonder if we are supposed to present the data in some basic charts, cards and tables or are we in Art class to outdo the next person. I kinda believe that the excess of colors detracts from the purpose of just getting to the “what’s going on in my data”

Guy

:slight_smile: Sorry, I should have been more clear Guy - the issue with my viewer is that if I present a chart that is all blue, only different light/shade levels between the columns (for instance) and the background. There is a good chance that my user will only see a rectangle, and not the chart columns.

So, instead, I must present my data in a different manner, a background can be used, but if the visuals must use a different color. A yellow/black design would work for my user - but better still (in this instance) is a white or light grey background with bold colors on top.

It’s not just a case of appealing to the eye, but what works for the end users. Color blindness creates some very real challenges that a lot of designers don’t take into consideration. But we’ve now wandered quite a bit from your original question.

My point was - you have to find your own ‘voice’ even in creating a design. My management team prefers white backgrounds, simple charts, and a few tables, if sales are blue in the chart, then the next time they see blue they want it to reference sales again - not customer deliveries. Others may want a different look with more homogeneous colors - ultimately, the designer has to determine what to present, but the user is also part of the equation.

I don’t think it’s at all about trying to outdo the other person. Instead, I view it as just an incredible opportunity to see the diversity of styles and talents present in the eDNA community, and to take back for my own use in my real-world projects the best of what I learn through the course of these challenges. Personally, of the four major aspects of Power BI, I struggle the most with the visualization/style aspects in making my reports look good. Thus, in the stuff I’m doing for work I’m borrowing liberally from the styles of the submissions that best fit the nature of my projects. A style I particularly like (to name just one…) is @michaelsampsonidis’ - it’s not a complex visual style (his first entry was basically B&W…), but it’s really attractive and polished, and adds to rather than distracts from the key analytical points. But for each of us, what “works” best will be different.

To the extent that there’s a friendly competitive aspect to this, that’s fine, but for me really beside the point.

  • Brian

Thanx again @BrianJ and @Heather I really like the input you are providing.

What I was eluding to mainly is why all the colors and overlaying of chart on text on some background. - poor example but I think you see what I’m getting at.

I seem to subscribe to the old “KISS” method (google it) - I learned that from my time in the military. If a simple chart and a toned down table presents the data then why get so “Artsy”. There’s nothing wrong with it but I think it’s really overkill - to much glitter.

I understand that we should all do what works for us but it just seemed to me in doing the challenges we needed Bookmarks and all the “glitter” hence my original question.

I think this can be a good discussion for the entire forum. I learning

Guy

I generally agree with you re: substance over style. However, the reality is that the latter sometimes is what gets people to pay attention to the former. In my case, me and my project team are the first major users of Power BI in our entire organization, and are passionate about promoting it to the other offices and programs. Sometimes it feels like being the cave people who discovered fire. In promoting it to other people, the main focus is on fire as a source of warmth, protection, cooking, etc. But at times, it’s a big attention-getter to use it to shoot off fireworks, juggle flaming sticks, etc. I’d say that some of the flashier visual tools and techniques serve the same purpose, eliciting the “WHOA!!! What is THAT?!” response that opens the door for the more detailed and substantive discussion.

  • Brian
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Very true.

In my case I’m one person in IT responsible for a Network and Office 365 and SharePoint and Troubleshooting PCs all while trying to drive awareness to Power BI from the ground up.

So far I have seen responses like no way it doesn’t work without even looking at it or it’s garbage etc. I just keep pushing and refusing to go away.

I finally, after trying to use Power BI since the Beta days, have the President and COO of the company looking at it “a little”. I built them a Report with 6 years of Sales & Profit data sliced by division, sales reps, company and product. It opened their eyes to what’s really going on out there

I guess I’m just venting a little but everything everyone is saying is very very helpful and I thank everyone.

Guy

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‘glitter’ is definitely sometimes necessary - as BrianJ mentioned, it excites the viewer, and is sometimes the ‘hook’ to get them to engage with your report.

But solid, readable design should certainly take precedence.
And we all develop our style over time. The first two screenshots below are my very first project - which is still in use by a client. Sorry for all the white space, but this is a screenshot of the live report.

image
image

There is one bookmark on each page, and that is simply to change the pie charts to bars (learned that in self-defense when the customer insisted on pie charts for a bunch of things).
Color scheme is simple, I grabbed the customer’s logo off their website, and went to a color generator to come up with the colors I would use. (This was before themes were easy to manipulate, so there was a LOT of manual work in changing the colors and making sure they all matched).

But, as you mentioned, the rest of the report is pretty simple, I don’t think I have more than 40 measures in the entire report, and it’s an eight page report.

To contrast that, this latest report I have created has only 2 pages, but bookmarks, a drillthrough page, and even custom tooltips have been created. However, I just learned that in this case, the user is only going to subscribe to get a screenshot of a single page of the report every week. :frowning:
I guess what I’m saying is, the bells and whistles make a difference, but the user needs to be willing as well. Which I see is a challenge you are facing also.

2 Likes

Agree totally, it’s a challenge everyday.

I’m currently working on a report for HR to get a handle on the company Cell Phones and all the Minutes/Data used.

Going to try to incorporate some of the ides I’m getting from this discussion.

As they say - Baby Steps :slightly_smiling_face:

Guy

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@GuyJohnson,

Per our earlier discussion about bookmarks versus direct page navigation, I’ve posted my Data Challenge #4 entry. It has extensive button navigation back and forth throughout the report, but only includes two bookmarks – both of which relate to the clear filters button. In the past, it would’ve taken forever to set up, test and maintain all the bookmarks necessary to accomplish this. However, using the direct page navigation I was able to set all the navigation paths up in minutes.

Once you have a chance to go through the videos and test out Heather’s prototypes, I’ll be eager to hear what you think.

  • Brian

Thanx very much @BrianJ

I won’t get to this for a couple of weeks as I’m currently incapacitated without access to my Power BI stuff

Just wanted to let you know so you wouldn’t think I’m ignoring the information

Guy

@GuyJohnson,

Very sorry to hear that. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

When you’re back on your feet, and have had a chance to go through this, just give a shout if you have any further questions.

  • Brian
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Bookmarks can also be handy if you have limited screen space and need to include slicers, so you can create a slicer pane that appears and disappears. Some may like it, some may not, but it is horses for courses, I guess. GIAC did a good a video on this.