8.2. Report Layout Customization
In this lesson, we'll explore layout customization for your data dashboard. After connecting your data sources and selecting metrics and dimensions, it's time to determine the best layout for your dashboard. We'll discuss various options, including the STQA (subject, topic, question, answer) framework, and how to adjust settings in Data Studio.
Setting Up Your Canvas
Start with a blank canvas.
When you first create a Data Studio dashboard, you'll begin with a blank canvas. This is where you'll build your report. Familiarize yourself with the menu items and properties available.
Adjusting Theme and Layout Settings
Find what you need in the sidebar.
When you select components or charts, you'll have access to theme and layout settings in the sidebar. Here, you'll find options for layouts and theme settings. Let's start with layouts.
Adjusting View Mode Options
Customize your dashboard's appearance.
View mode determines how users consume your report. Here are some options you can adjust:
- Header Visibility: Decide if you want the header (top part of the page) to be visible or not. You can choose from "Always Show," "Auto Hide," or "Initially Hidden." The last option is recommended for a more immersive experience.
- Navigation: Choose how users can navigate between pages in your report. Options include "Left Navigation," "Tab," "Top Left," and "Hidden." Each choice provides a different user experience.
Creating an Immersive Experience
Guide users through your report.
For a more engaging experience, you can hide the navigation and create in-page navigation on the canvas by manually linking between pages. This allows you to selectively guide users through your report and control the way they consume information.
Respecting Report Themes
Ensure consistency in your design.
Enable the "Respect Report Theme" setting to make sure the navigation adheres to the colors, fonts, and other design elements you've set in the theme settings of your report.
Report Display Modes
Choose the right display mode for your audience.
Two display modes are available: "Actual Size" and "Fit to Width." Actual size maintains the pixel dimensions you've set for your canvas, while Fit to Width expands the report to fill the available space. Note that Fit to Width is not a responsive design and may not be suitable for users with wide monitors.
Find the optimal canvas size for your project.
A recommended canvas width for desktop users is 1,180 pixels. The height can vary depending on your needs, but aim to minimize scrolling whenever possible.
Margins and Background
Customize the appearance of your canvas.
You can choose to display margins around the canvas or eliminate them for a more immersive design. Adjust the canvas size as needed, and consider using a background color that expands to fill the entire page.
Align components easily with snapping options.
Snapping components to grids or smart guides helps to create a clean layout with consistent margins between elements. Experiment with different grid sizes and preferences to find the best snapping option for your design.
Report Level vs. Page Level Components
Understand the difference between the two types of components.
Components on a page level are unique to each page. They may look identical, but they're not connected. Copying and pasting a component between pages creates two independent instances of the component. When you want a component to be available on every page in the same position, make it a report level component.
Learn how to manage component layers in your report.
Report level components and page level components form two separate groups of layers. You can adjust the order of components within each group by right-clicking and using the "Order" options like "Bring Forward" or "Send Backward." Under the layout settings, you can choose whether report level components should always be at the top or bottom of page level components.
Hiding Report Level Components on Specific Pages
Control the visibility of report level components when needed.
In some cases, you might want to hide a report level component on a specific page. To do this, set your report level components to be at the bottom of page level components in the layout settings. Then, on the page where you want to hide the report level component, place a rectangle with the same background color as the page on top of the component. This will effectively hide the report level component on that page.
Hierarchy and Overrides in Data Filters
Learn how hierarchy levels work in report filters.
The hierarchy for data filters in reports goes as follows:
- Report Level
- Page Level
- Group Level
- Component Level
Lower hierarchy levels will override higher hierarchy levels.
Page Level Overrides
See how page level filters can be used to override report level filters.
If you have a report level date range selector and want to apply a different date range on a specific page, you can create a page level date range selector. The page level date range selector will override the report level one.
Group and Component Level Overrides
Learn how to use group and component level filters for more specific control.
You can also use group and component level filters to override filters set at higher hierarchy levels. For example, you can set a custom fixed date range on a chart (component level) to override any date range selectors at the page or report level.
Customizing your dashboard's layout is an essential step in crafting an effective and engaging data visualization. Experiment with different settings to find the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality.
Taking the time to customize your report layout will result in a more polished and professional-looking data visualization. By considering factors such as display modes, canvas sizes, and snapping options, you can create a seamless experience for your audience. With practice, you'll develop a keen eye for design and become a true expert in report layout customization.
Being able to customize report layouts, manage component hierarchy, and control the visibility of report level components on specific pages can significantly enhance the user experience. As you continue to work with report layout customization, you'll develop a deeper understanding of how these concepts work together to create powerful and flexible data visualizations.
Finally, understanding the hierarchy and overrides in data filters is essential for creating flexible and powerful reports. By using filters at different hierarchy levels, you can customize the data displayed in your visualizations to cater to specific needs or scenarios.