Sketches vs Final Design

A friend asked me recently if I sketch out any of my dashboards before I build them in Tableau, and my initial reaction was ‘not really’.

Later I realised that wasn’t strictly true!

I use a Samsung Tablet and One-Note to do all my note making and occasional sketches for work and home, and going through this I realised I had done a lot more sketching for my Tableau Public stuff than I had initially thought.

With that, I thought it would be interesting to add a page to my blog where I can put all my ‘Sketch vs Reality’ pictures and see how close the final design was. You can see all of them here:

Sketches vs. Reality

To pull out a couple of favourites:

Close to Final Design

I had quite a few that resembled the final design, but this Diversity in Data one was quite pleasing given the shapes and colours I was trying to get to:

The bottom part of the sketch didn’t make it in – but the top part was pretty much exactly what I ended up with.

Multi-Part Sketch

My Fields of Gold Makeover Monday sketches were slightly more exploratory, and showed my thinking around layout and charts:

With the final design looking similar to the last sketch, and I kept the charts pretty simple.

Least like final design

This one amused me as it didn’t look anything like the final design, and I’m not even sure what the sketch is showing! Although there was a nod to the functionality I ended up using to switch between responses and categories:

Most non-sensical

Finally – my Valentines day final sketch matched the final design quite closely:

But the ‘sketch’ I used to work out how to draw the polygon bar charts probably makes no sense to anyone but me. And even I don’t understand what I did now!


A few things I have noted while going through this:

  1. I am either a) very good at getting an initial design so don’t need to deviate or b) am just stubborn and won’t change it even if I need to! Most likely b).
  2. Sketching can help by stop me from building something I don’t like/wont work. A few of the sketches I have pivoted on at some point and ended up building something different.
  3. I shouldn’t be afraid to do multiple differing sketches. As in note 1, I don’t often do multiple sketches, but when I have I feel I have explored the subject more thoroughly.
  4. Comparing sketch vs. final is fun! Even if it has gone in a completely different direction!

All the rest of the comparisons can be found here: Sketches vs Reality and I will keep this up to date as I do more sketches.

Hope you found this interesting!


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