When designing Data Studio reports, we always want to make sure the data isn’t too complicated. But we need to ask ourselves, is the data too complicated, or have we overcomplicated the data? This is where Google Data Studio comes in.

Google’s Data Studio was launched in March 2016 and has quickly become one of the leading go-to reporting and dashboarding tools for many businesses. Data Studio can bridge the gap between data and insight with its highly customisable range of graphs, tables, and scorecards. However, there are some key principles that should be followed when designing a report to use within a business.

Is the data too complicated or have we overcomplicated the data?

Top Tips for Building Your Google Data Studio Report

Think about your audience

Before you even consider using Data Studio, you should have a clear idea of who the audience is. It’s always handy to gather some initial requirements before diving into the design stage. Think about:

  • Who will be using the report?
  • What insights do they need to know?
  • When do they need the report updated?
  • Where will they be accessing the report?
  • Why do they need this in a report format?

Having a clear understanding of your audience will really help you to decide what goes into the report and how this information will be presented. If you find yourself getting distracted by fancy visuals (which we all do), just re-read your initial brief and refocus your attention on the purpose of the report.

Consistency is key

By having consistency in your outputs, the brains of your audience don’t have to work as hard to consume the presented information. This means more brainpower to digest the insights. Start to think of all of your outputs as a well-known brand would. These companies have carefully followed specific brand guidelines over many years to build trust with their customers. This approach can be replicated in Google Data Studio by:

  1. Ensuring colours schemes are the same on every page, table, and visual
  2. Making sure one font is agreed and used at every opportunity
  3. Aligning all elements on the page

Individually these points may seem insignificant and small, but together they make a massive impact. These can make the difference between a good report and a great report.

Limit the number of calculations

Calculated dimensions and metrics can be used to create new fields based on the data you have available. This technique can be important for creating new columns, reclassifying labels, or simplifying your categories.

This technique can be really useful and should be utilised in your report. However, caution should be taken on how often it’s used as too many calculated fields can cause the report to slow. If you intend to use calculated fields on multiple charts/reports then create it directly on the data source as it won’t have to be calculated multiple times.

As an alternative, make sure that you create as many fields as possible outside of the report. Either in your data warehouse, source system, or google sheets.

Keep it Super Simple

Finally, the most important thing to remember when creating effective reports is to keep them as simple as possible. Keep reminding yourself of who your audience is and how they will interpret your report. Make sure that the visuals used are simple, clear, and bold. Try not to overfill the page or use any unnecessarily complicated visualisations. Make sure the report doesn’t have any extra unnecessary calculations.

If you keep these principles in mind when approaching report designing, you’ll greatly improve your chances of your report being adopted by your audience. And just like that, you’ll be churning out engaging reports in no time.

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