Calling all Tableau users — have you ever gone to open your Tableau dashboard and it won’t open? Have you tried filtering data in your dashboard and nothing happens? Has a certain interaction not worked for you? These can be daily annoyances for Tableau users, but they can be turned around. Cue: functional testing. Functional testing for Tableau is aimed at Dashboard and reports developers, Data Ops teams, BI Managers, or dashboard users that want to trust their dashboards will work. Before users even pick up on data regressions (which aren’t always easy to spot), users will immediately know if the dashboard opens or not, or if they can’t interact in the way that they would like to. This is why functional testing can be your savior by having a continual monitoring system in place.
WHAT’S FUNCTIONAL TESTING FOR TABLEAU ALL ABOUT?
Let’s get to the crux of it straight away — functional testing allows you to simulate a user’s dashboard interaction journey, including actions taken, clicks done, essentially any interactions they carry out on their dashboard. It allows you to verify that when a user is consuming the dashboard, everything is working well. For example:
Is the dashboard displaying the expected results based on a set of user-defined rules?
If I select a filter, is the filter working, is it returning the correct values, is the data that I filter displaying the data correctly?
Can I successfully log in to Tableau?
If I select a specific date range, will the correct data be displayed?
It’s all about user functionality and providing the best experience for your users. For example, in a self-service BI model, it’s critical to implement Tableau governance rules, in this particular case, content governance rules. Part of the process is to ensure that everything is working well and that users can confidently consume the relevant dashboard content. If you want to ensure high user adoption, functional testing is a must. If dashboards aren’t refreshing or displaying the correct information, users won’t use it and they will lose trust, which in turn will lead to less user adoption. Let’s be honest, the first problem your Support team will get is “why isn’t my dashboard working?”
Functional testing can also be integrated into your CI/CD or QA (quality assurance) cycle because it allows you to monitor dashboards in the background to find any problems before users do. Additionally, functional testing offers publishing and promotion capabilities to allow for fast deployment. Using this testing for your CI/CD cycle also gives you the ability to automate your testing. Kinesis-CI actually has 21 different kinds of functional tests and we look at adding new ones regularly.
HOW ARE ORGANIZATIONS USING FUNCTIONAL TESTING?
Our customer, in the banking industry, is on Tableau Core, and its business users are complaining about the overall experience: navigation, clicks that are not working, refresh time, etc. The customer’s challenge is about how to proactively ensure performance and user experience and inform via external integration.
Thanks to Kinesis-CI, each time a dashboard is built or modified within this organization, a dashboard developer leverages Kinesis to run functional testing to simulate a user journey with the key functionalities below:
Is the dashboard opening?
Are the filters working?
Are my formulas showing data within the range I had planned?
Every test case in Functional Tests is made up of a series of tasks to give you the flexibility to model how Tableau reports are used by members of your organization. What’s important to note is that when running a test case, Kinesis follows the tasks in the sequence you’ve set them up, but even if a task is a failure, your test will continue running. In terms of the results, you will see how long each test took, e.g. logging on, opening a workbook. Plus if you really want to be proactive, you can set-up email and Slack notifications to notify you of the results.
Setting up your functional test tasks in Kinesis-CI.
What’s more is that all functional testing tasks can be automated in Kinesis-CI, with the ability to run it on any basis that you want (even if new objects are added to a dashboard).
ARE YOU READY TO TEST?
Functional testing is the first type of testing you should be doing on your Tableau dashboards because a non-working dashboard is the first thing users will notice, and it won’t help in increasing user adoption. It’s equally the most complete in terms of what tasks you can carry out with many features in order to fully simulate a user journey.
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