Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Fun with Filters!

One of the most valuable features of Data Studio for looking at education data is the ability to include filters which allow users to "slice and dice" the information on the screen to answer their own questions. However, there are several features within Data Studio that reference the term "filter" and so I thought I would write up some clarification plus a sample report, since it can get a little confusing.

Dimension Filter icon Filter Controls are elements that can be added to any Data Studio report, using the Filter Control button in the toolbar. The default Filter Control is a multi-select pop-up type, but it can be configured in the Style pane with a number of options. Filter Controls can be single-select or multi-select, can include a Search box, can be a pop-up or clickable type, and can include filter operators such as EQUALS or CONTAINS. Of course, color, font, and size are all customizeable as well.
Data Studio Help: Filter Controls

Chart Interaction Filters allow report authors to turn charts into interactive filters. For example, if your report contained a pie chart, this could be made into an interactive filter allowing the user to click a section of the pie chart to filter the information in the report.
Data Studio Help: Chart Interaction Filters
Treemap as filter menu from Mehdi Oudjida

Filters are a way to restrict the data appearing within a report or report element on the "back end." Filters themselves are not interactive (although you'll often hear people refer to a Filter Control as a Filter, hence the confusion.) For example, if you wanted to include a Scorecard element which showed a count of only the students who scored in a particular category, you could put a Filter on the Scorecard to include only those students, and the count would reflect it.
Data Studio Help: About Filters

Filter by Email is a relatively new feature of Data Studio that uses the user's Google account to display a custom data set based on an Email field in the data source.
Data Studio Help: Filter by email address

I created this sample report (also linked to the image above) to show examples of all the elements discussed here (except Filter by Email), so you can see how these different filters work. Obviously, you wouldn't use them all in one report for the same dimension, so this report is really just for fun.

Let me know.. how do YOU like to filter?

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Visualizing Plans for the Class of 2020

Many high schools publish a list of the plans of their graduates, but wouldn't it be fun to visualize this list on a map, to see where a school's students will disperse after graduation?

Here's a very simple template for any high school who wishes to display the plans of their 2020 graduates in a fun visual map format. Clicking on a row in the table will zoom in on the Google map to show the location, and the user can even use the "Pegman" to take a look around at Street View. Clicking the row again will bring the user back to the entire list/map.

To make your own version of this report, first create a simple Google Sheet with a single column with a header of "List." This column should have a single entry related to each student in the class, although the list would not include student names. So, for example, if two students are attending Cape Cod Community College, then "Cape Cod Community College" would appear twice in the first column of the spreadsheet. It doesn't matter what order the list is in. Most high school guidance departments would be able to export this list from Naviance or other college and career platform.

 After the Sheet is put together, you can make a copy of the report by clicking Use Template in the upper right corner of the report link. You can then connect your new Sheet as the data source for your copy of the report. If you need additional information about how to connect a report to a data source, please refer to these instructions.

You will want to check that the List field is of the type Geo > Address. You can check this through the Resource menu > Manage added data sources > Edit and check the Type column for the List field.

A few notes: Some Sheet entries may need to be tweaked to display correctly. For example, there may be multiple colleges with the same name (like Trinity College) so you may need to add a city/state in order for it to display correctly. Non-location generic entries such as "2yr college", "Employment," etc. will not display on the map but will display in the list.

You can then customize the colors, logos, etc. of the report to make it your own. (Tip: Try Extract Theme from Image using your school's logo!) I would love to see what you come up with - and congratulations to the class of 2020!