Storytelling with data in Power BI: part 1

I’m starting a series of posts based on “Storytelling with data. Let’s Practice.” book by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic. The visuals that illustrate exercise solutions in the book have been created in Microsoft Excel. I’ll design all solutions in Power BI and merge them into one Power BI report.

I want to build solutions that take into account Power BI constrictions and capabilities and my own understanding of data storytelling in Power BI. Fundamental principles of good storytelling doesn’t depend on the tool. And I highly recommend Cole’s book for all Power BI report developers. But each tool has it’s own limitations and features. And while some data storytelling advises are good for static slides and book illustrations, we need a bit different approach for interactive reports. At the same time interactive features add 3rd dimension to our 2D story and allow end users to look at the data story from multiple angles. Note, that I’m not talking about 3D charts here. 3D charts are usually do not present data well. I’m talking about a way to look at the data from multiple angles using interactive slicers, filters, buttons, tool-tips and so on.

The next post will be about the first data visualization exercise (exercise 2.1). All exercises will be merged into one report and the report will be embedded into every post in the series. I’ll be adding pages to the report one by one. And probably sometimes I’ll be going back to older post to make some minor changes as well as I’ll be updating report pages. The story is not static. It will evolving. If this project will be successful and a lot of people will be following this series of posts I’ll try to ask Cole for a few comments. For now this project is just an idea that didn’t exists two days ago. Maybe it will turn into a book in the future. I think it will be an interesting project anyway.

What do you think?
Did you read Cole’s books?
Did you create your own solutions for the book examples? Did you use Power BI to do that?

Let’s discover what restrictions and features of Power BI are the most significant for data story telling…

And while this is just the beginning and there will be more pages in the report, I’m ready to start telling about what has already been created.

Did you notice and image on the first page?

Well, it’s not an image. It’s a copy of Line chart from page 2.7. I just removed all captions and disabled interactivity. There is no setting to fully disable interactive features of a visual, but there is an easy way to do that – I just inserted a Rectangle in front of the chart (with disabled visual header and 100% transparent background).

A Line chart covered behind a transparent Rectangle (page About)

Interactivity is an important part of Power BI visuals, but in some cases you may want to disable it. Using the same approach you can fully cover any other visual.

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