Recently when we create tabular reports to one of our client, we needed to create reports which has drilldown facility. Therefore, we used the Matrix visualization and when we drill down to next level, by default, each level stepped out from the immediate level, which looks fine, but not much clear. Check the sample matrix bellow. In here, I have added Year-Month-Date hierarchy, Profit and Quantity measures to the matrix and drill down to date level. This is how it looks.
As you can see, this layout is not very clear, specially when you have lots of fields in the matrix and we needed to find a way to show these information in a more clear way.For that we came up with two approaches. Personally, I like the second approach more. However, I will show both those options.
1st option is to increase the “Stepped Layout Indentation” of the matrix in setting section. You can find this setting in “Row headers” setting area. The default value for this is 10 pixels.
Let’s increate the setting value to 40 pixels and check how the matrix looks like. This is how it looks now.
As you can see, the visual is more clear and easy to read, because now there is more space between each levels. Just by looking at the visual, you can get an idea about the level in your hierarchy which was not the case earlier.
The 2nd option is to disable the “Stepped layout” option which can be found in “Row headers” setting area.
When you disable it (set to Off), levels in the hierarchy will not be stepped out, rather visualized as new columns, which is more clear when you have multiple fields in your matrix. Check how the same matrix looks when I set it to off.
This way it looks nice because when you drill down, each column get populated and when you drill up, those columns get hide. Check how it looks when I drill up to “Month” level.
To make the visual more clear, you can enable (set to On) “Vert grid” and “Horiz grid” option in “Grid” setting section and it will add grid layout to your matrix so that there is a clear segregation between each columns and rows.
Once I enabled it, this is how my matrix looks like. As you can see, the visual is much clear and end user can easily get an idea about data compare to default drilldown UI.
I hope this post will helps you to create a better Matrix visual which provides clear insight when user drill down. Cheers..!!!