10 things about Tableau 10: Device-specific dashboards


10 things about Tableau 10: Device-specific dashboards

Even though there are only a few days until Christmas, and 1,5 weeks of 2016 left, I think we can squeeze in the last posts of my blog series titled “10 things about Tableau 10“. This time I’m going to talk about one of my favourite new features in Tableau 10; and that’s the Device Designer.

Device Designer

With earlier versions of Tableau, mobile dashboards were very much a thing. The only downside of working with a multi-device environment was designing your dashboards for it. Sure you could take the easy route and adjust Tableau to auto-scale the layout depending on your screen real estate, but it wasn’t a very elegant way of working. Also, when you switched over to a phone, the dashboard would most likely be unreadable in portrait mode. The worst case scenario required separate mobile and desktop dashboards.

Thankfully with the new Device Designer feature, we are able to design device-specific dashboards from one uniform dashboard. The Device Designer basically allows for separate layouts and interactivity per device. This means that a dashboard, which viewed via a workstation with a big screen can have a larger, more complex layout than when the same dashboard is viewed with an iPad or iPhone, conversely. You can even omit some vizzes that are difficult to use on a mobile device – very clever. Let’s check out an example case.

Let’s say I’ve already built a Dashboard about my sales with some interactivity and vizzes. When viewed on my laptop, this dashboard looks great. I can quite easily use my mouse to do selections and see the data. If I’d open up this exact dashboard using my phone, Tableau would try to cram all the visuals onto the screen as I’ve set the layout to expand and contract automatically depending on the amount of screen real estate available.


By using the Device Preview button on the left navigation pane, I’m presented by an additional menu at the top of my screen, which lets me choose the device type, the model, whether it’s landscape or portrait, and even whether to optimise the dashboard for the Tableau Mobile app — which is fantastic by the way.


Once I’m happy with the settings of the mobile device, I can add the template to the workbook from the menu. This will add a new Device type template to the menu and allow me to start designing the dashboard. You can let Tableau sort it out for you, or create something completely unique to the device type. In my case, I’m going to create a vertically scrollable dashboard, which will allow me to add all the information to the canvas. Also I’m going to change the positioning of the colour legends.


I know that some of the people viewing this dashboard will be iPhone users, so I’m going to add a third template for the iPhone 6 and make it usable also on the Tableau Mobile app, since that’s our company policy.


Because mobile phones have such a small screen, I need to be careful when designing the layout so that the users will be able to make sense of the vizzes but not leave anything important out. Here I’ve added the filters to the beginning of the page, and extended the layout to 1200 pixels for a better user experience. Though it’s not visible in the screenshot, I’ve dropped the detailed tabular viz as it’s very difficult to read on a small screen. You could even have completely different visualisations for your mobile users.


After we are happy with the dashboards, I’ll publish them to our Tableau Server, and log on to see the end result. As expected, the full dashboard looks great on in the browser on my laptop.


On the iPad, you can see the difference in the dashboard layout.


And finally the iPhone 6, with the unique mobile phone user experience.



That’s a quick peek into how you can use Tableau and different types of devices to view the same data in different formats.


To download a free 14 day trial of Tableau 10, go to our trial download page and discover Tableau 10 for yourself!

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Blog writer

Karri Linnoinen

Bilot Alumni

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