SSRS Mobile Reports Design Considerations
By: Siddharth Mehta
Reports can be categorized into three major categories - Operational, Analytical and Strategic. Generally strategic reports, which are also known as dashboards, are accessed over mobile devices. In rare cases Analytical reports and in even rarer cases Operational reports are accessed over mobile devices. While designing reports that are targeted for mobile devices, certain factors should be kept in mind. We will look at some of these important considerations.
Before we start understanding the technology that enables and empowers mobile reporting, we need to keep in mind basic considerations for developing mobile reports.
1) Knowledge of visualizations is very important to represent appropriate data for intended analytics with limited screen space. A mismatch of visualizations with these type of data can lead to an incorrect perception of the data. For example, data grids are not good candidates for visualizing proportions and pie-charts are not good candidates for representing hierarchical data.
2) Every visualization is not suitable for mobile reporting. For example, a scatterplot can be a good candidate for reporting data on mobile devices if used only for outlier analysis. But if each data point is important and the user wants to look at the value of each data point, it can be quite challenging for the user to analyze such data on a scatterplot chart.
3) Mobile devices like mobile phones and tablets use different operating systems like iOS, Android, Windows, etc. and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Every report must be tested on the target device that the end users generally use.
4) In responsive programming, a report layout is generally divided into grids composed of rows and columns. This allows the report developer to divide the report elements by percentage irrespective of the pixel width and height of the device. Generally there are separate layouts for mobiles and tablets.
5) A dashboard is a type of report which generally contains aggregated data on a variety of data visualization components like Scorecards, Data Grids, Maps, Gauges, Charts and Graphs. These components are generally interactive and bound by a common scope. For example, selecting a particular time of the year on a chart / graph would result in the other components changing its value relative to the selected time.
6) Generally reports developed for desktops are summarized and promoted for mobile reporting eventually either due to extensive use or due to the importance of the data being reported.
7) Parameters provide scope as well as filters and help in eliminating the need to display the entire dataset on the report upfront.
With these basic considerations, we are now set to explore the architecture and technology stack that facilitates mobile reporting.
- Consider gaining at least an introductory knowledge of the different types of charts and graphs before diving into report design and development.