One of the most important things you learn in data visualization is reducing noise, i.e text and lines. However, there are some things that are, and always will, be communicated more effectively with text. To be clear, I’m not referring to static text here. Static text stays the same and doesn’t change with contextual filters. Dynamic text on the other hand, is a different story.
Dynamic text can highlight changes that occur when users interact with the data in your story, making it easier for them to follow the charts in your dashboard and draw insights from the underlying data. To use text effectively then, you should use it moderately and make it dynamic.
In SAP Analytics Cloud, there are several options to add Dynamic Text. Users can add dynamic text using story filters, dimensions, input controls, and others.
Adding dynamic text using story filter:
Story filters is one of the most useful methods to slice data based on the user’s unique needs, it also happens to be the most straightforward way to add dynamic text.
Adding dynamic text using story filters is a great way to inform the user when a filter is selected. In the below example, I wanted to see how many people registered for a tech event in Canada and Columbia using the country filter. As you can see in figure 1, the title updates according to the filter chosen.
Adding dynamic text using dimension values:
The purpose of adding dynamic text using dimension values varies:
1. You can add dynamic text using dimensions to inform end users of changes that happen to certain attributes/dimensions used in your story under a filter(s). The example in figure 2 demonstrates how dimension values such as products per country, store per country, and quantity revenue change when changing the region filter from LATAM to NA. This is helpful in drawing the user’s attention to important dimension values used in your dashboard that they might have otherwise missed without the dynamic text. Please note that to add dynamic text based on story dimensions, you need to have a story filter set. The dynamic text based on dimensions will reflect changes made based on the filter set in place.
2. Another good use for dimension-based dynamic text, is in the case of exporting reports in pdf format using the Batch Export by Story Filter option. You can export a report with the required dimension values, set under a filter(s). In Figure 3, you can see how I exported several reports based on the Store filter (I chose six stores that I was interested in). As figure 3 shows, I exported reports containing the dynamic text I added (Store Manager, Product Category, Product, Country, and Store).
Adding dynamic text using input controls:
As an alternative to the previous dynamic text options, you can add dynamic text based on input controls. Figure 4 demonstrates how dynamic text added to the titles of the upper section of the dashboard (numeric points) and lower section of the dashboard (charts).
Adding dynamic text using chart properties:
For more granularity, you can add dynamic text in your chart’s subtitle to display important details in the chart such as measure, scale, unit, and dimensions. To do that you can add dynamic text based on Chart Properties. Just right click the Chart’s subtitle, add dynamic text, and then choose the Chart Properties option. In figure 5, I choose the Sales Revenue measure. As you can see the dynamic text gets updated accordingly.
Adding dynamic text using Smart Insights:
Or, to make things more interesting you can add Smart Insights to your chart’s footer and then copy and paste it in a text box in your story. You can then add Dynamic Text to the chart’s title that reflect the changes made when you explore your data using Smart Insights. In this example, I added Smart Insights to the Attendees by Country chart and copied and pasted the Smart Insights in a separate text box. If I decide I wanted to filter out another country using the input control or story filter, the dynamic text in the Smart Insights will change accordingly as shown in figure 6 when editing the input control to include the United Kingdom.
And there you have it: you can see the region dimension/input control/chart property you chose reflected in the dynamic text you added in your story and charts (figure 7).
In the end, it’s important to remember that no matter how intuitive you think your dashboard is, end users might still need guidance in digesting the data presented to them, especially if the dashboard is new and the end user is not familiar with the data. This is why dynamic can be a great addition to your dashboard.