You know that one friend who is otherwise nice enough but he stands inside your personal bubble? Like, even before the pandemic, he just needed to take one healthy step back. You’re cool, you’re just up in my space.


Just like you want a little breathing room, so do your graphs.

Every graph needs a personal bubble.

Give every graph some elbow room.

Your chart borders do not need to touch each other.

Or, if they do, add padding to the chart so it looks like they aren’t touching each other.

If you had to describe the spacing on the dashboard above, what would you say? Cramped. Tight. Overcrowded. Sloppy. Crashing into each other.

Honey, if you opened the front door to a party and saw people unable to move, sloshing their drinks on one another, you’d go home and put your sweatpants back on.  

When our dashboards look overcrowded, it makes our viewers want to back away.

The antidote to closeness is clearance.


S P A C E.

Space gives every graph a personal bubble.

And when you’re conscience about clearance vs. closeness you’ll also end up handling another common dashboard problem: the proportions of each chart. I see this mistake all the time (moreso in Tableau dashboards than in Power BI).

That line chart is too wide.

Like that friend at your party who’s laying down on the couch when other people don’t have a place to sit. 

When the chart is too wide and especially if it’s also too short, the trend itself is distorted.

People who look at your dashboard will be able to see it’s distorted and they’ll automatically understand this chart is can’t tell them anything with accuracy and they’ll quit using it. 

When your charts are better proportioned, the visual is more accurate. So tell your friend to sit up and make room for others. 

PS If you want to learn how to make this dashboard from beginning to end using Power BI, get on the Data Viz Academy VIP list. We have loads of Power BI lessons that show you how to stretch this program to its fullest capability and design dashboards (ok, ok reports) that make your boss think you’re a genius.

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