bookmarking

Matrixed Report Navigation

I was recently tasked with revamping the Microsoft 365 Usage Analytics template app, as it was created several years ago and could benefit from many of the new features in Power BI.

When I initially opened the report the first thing I noticed is that it was 26 tabs. 26 tabs is a LOT of tabs. When a report is structured with this many tabs, it can lead to a linear consumption experience where to end user goes through each tab in sequence to wade through the information, and navigating to a specific piece of information can be a challenge.

We did a quick inventory of the 26 tabs, and decided on a “Matrixed Navigation” that would consolidate tabs and make for a better user experience. At the end of the day, we ended up with 5 Topics or “Categories” of depth and built in navigation to let users navigate the vast amount of content in the report within these categories. This was achieved by looking at commonalities in each tab and consolidating at the right depth to make for the most seamless user experience.

Pre-Built Matrixed Navigation Template

I have found that using this Matrixed navigation approach has been successful when working with really heavy Reports that cross many topics and depths of content, so I wanted to share an example PBIX that has all of the Navigation components built in and ready to be used!

As I mentioned in my post on In-Page Navigation, prior to Visual grouping, I would never have suggested using this kind of navigation, as it was far too tedious to achieve, and hard to update when things needed adjustment. Luckily, when developing the redesign of the Usage analytics reporting, Visual grouping was in test so I was able to utilize it in the build and discovered some really cool functionality when combining Visual groups with Bookmarks

How It works

The template has two forms of navigation: Page Navigation for “Categories” that control the depth, and In-Page Navigation to allow users to work through their content within the same level of depth

For Categories, we are simply navigating from page to page with bookmarks that only include the “Current Page” option selected:

For the template, I refer to my In-Page Navigation “Stages”. The way these bookmarks work is by hiding/unhiding the Selected visual groups, and correlating buttons while keeping “Data” unselected to avoid any funny business if slicers are brought into the picture.

Since we are effectively hiding/unhiding the groups, rather than the individual items, we can modify what is included in the group without needing to update any bookmarks

How to Implement the Template

Start by Downloading the template here

Once you have the report template and your data, you can build the Stages out. There are currently placeholders in each stage to create our groups so that all of the bookmark plumbing could be achieved ahead of time.

Add your visuals to the page, then drag the elements into your Stage 1 Visual Group

After building out the remaining visuals for my Stage 1, I can delete the placeholder shapes and retain the group:

No Bookmark updates are needed at this point! You can now modify your button text as it applies to the report, and navigate to your “Stage 2” with a Ctrl+Click to begin building out your next section.

From here, you can repeat the same process as the above. If you only have 2 or 3 “Stages”, you can remove any unnecessary buttons, and modify the Background in PPT to make your “Tab” structure look nice and clean.

See Background Gallery for PPT file and this post on how to use backgrounds if you not yet familiar

Considerations:

Not all report content makes sense to navigate in this way. I usually reserve these methods for very large reports that are not only broad in content, but have varying levels of depth.

Accessibility

When creating a report with a large amount of Buttons, it is very important to modify the Tab Order so that it has a logical flow for keyboard navigation. I have set this up in the template, but when you bring in new visuals you will have to ensure that the tab order is adjusted to give the buttons the correct order. This is easy to achieve in the Selection Pane:

Conclusion

Matrixed report navigation can give end users a much cleaner experience than tabs when working with a high volume of data than Tabs. Try it out and let me know how you like it!

Quick Links

Download the Template

Background Gallery

10 thoughts on “Matrixed Report Navigation

  1. Hi Chris, absolutely brilliant!
    Could I add/built a new Category and/or Stage to the template? How?

    PD: Sorry, there was an mistake in my previous email address. Use this one for the answer. Thanks

    Like

    1. Hi Firoz, Glad you like the content! when you click download you should see the file appear in your downloads folder or on the lower left in the browser. I just double checked and it is working for me still! Please try again and let me know if you are still having issues. thanks! Chris

      Like

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