Stephanie Fisher is a Senior Consultant at iOLAP, Inc. with a focus on front-end reporting. Her background is user experience and usability practices. Working across industries from telecommunications to major retail, Stephanie specializes in client facing reporting, dashboards, and mobile solutions. She believes the necessity of reporting has the foundation of strong architecture, informative data, and intuitive design.

In the spirit of exploring new visualizations, I wanted to learn how to create a Sankey diagram within MicroStrategy Desktop (also known as Visual Insight in web). A Sankey diagram is used to visually explain flow or many to many relationships with respective proportions. The visualization needs a source attribute, target attribute, and measure to size the path or flow. In order to support the visualization, I grabbed data off of The databank also had images I could leverage as a twist on the visual format. Cross referencing IMDB, I created a list of popular characters by Star Wars

Star ratings have become a staple for assessing review sentiment online. We see them all the time when we shop and can quickly associate whether a review is worth reading based on the 1 star vs 5 stars attached to the review. Given the popularity, I recently included star ratings by product in a dashboard designed for an executive audience. The visualization is intuitive and straight to the point. However, I started thinking why stars and not other shapes? To test out using other shapes, I kept it simple and fun. Star ratings, or in this case custom shape ratings

I had a requirement to create a document with object prompts. The document was essentially acting as a report builder that could be customized based on subscription. There was an additional requirement to support alias name functionality. I found previous blog posts and TNs on how to create documents with object prompts, but I was running into challenges supporting the alias names. In addition, I noticed that when I selected a smart metric only, if its components were available in the object prompt, both the smart metric and component metric would show up on the document. The functionality differs for

When I received the email notice from the TDWI Dallas Chapter about an upcoming Big Data event, I was interested. The meeting was at 8:00 a.m. on a Friday, the traffic wouldn’t be ideal, but it sounded like this might be a good opportunity.

Why would it be a good opportunity? Bill Inmon was in town!

With a user experience background, I take usability seriously when designing and developing reports. Usability provides end users with polished reporting that is intuitive while still informative. Paying attention to these details can make a huge difference.

For example, “stop light” thresholds are a great conditional formatting style to quickly identify key indicators. They can help users identify which region is growing fastest or is poorly performing.

A report uses red, yellow, and green circular indicators that are commonly associated with the flow of intersection traffic (red for warning or stop, yellow for caution or slow and green for go).

While these stop light colors are known everywhere, what if the end user is color blind?