Drill Through

Showing lots of details in one page of BI report is usually not a good idea, to provide a better experience for report viewers, users have to create multiple pages of different visuals in their reports. This can solve some problems of telling a story about data but it is much more useful if users be able to have some kind of connection between these pages to tell a continuous story.

For example imagine a report with page of visuals about total sale of products, if user wants to get into detail sales of each specific product they need to create another page in their report to show details about that. Without having a proper connection they cant transfer the selected product to details page. They have manually do this every time they want to show details of a specific product.

This scenario helps them to create this connection in an easy way, just by selecting a product in their page then can easily get more details about that specific products with two mouse clicks.


What Was the Problem?

Users have difficulties telling stories with their data and reports, creating a connection between visual and pages is hard and there is no easy way to do it. We need to design a better interaction to create this connections and make story telling easier.

What did I do?

I started with sketching with pen and paper and talking about those ideas with other people. After that I used Axure and created fully interactive prototype to test our concepts. Also Used Affinity Designer to finalize high fidelity designs and deliver them to development team.

Who Did I Work With?

In this project I was user experience designer and worked with our product manager, developers and researches. We had design reviews with other design team members during this project as well.

Design Process

We started by running multiple user research on a prototype that I created with Axure. In this concept we added a drillthrough button in ribbon as an entry point, after clicking that users see a modal box which they can define source, target, fields they want to send and a name.

We tested this prototype to find answers to these:

  • Do users find entry points for creating a drill through?
  • Can they create a successful drill through action for our sample report or not?
  • Do they start from source page to create this action or from target page?
  • Do they understand the drillthrough modal box clearly?

You can see a sample process of creating a drillthrough in this prototype demo:

What We Learned?

  • All participants expected to set up a new drill through from the source page (none expected to set it up from the target page).
  • Most users discovered the ability to create a drill through by opening the ellipsis menu or right-clicking on the visual.
  • Most participants understood how to launch a drill through from a single column within a visual.
  • When participants start creating a drill through from a particular column, show that column name in the dialog box automatically.

Exploring Other Concepts

Here are 4 other concepts that we tested:

  • Having a on/off switch in filters pane to enable/disable drillthrough
  • Having a checkbox in filter pane to use filters as drillthrough
  • Having a separate tab in filter pane to create drillthrough
  • Having a new bucket in filter pane for drillthrough

What We Learned?

  • Participants said drill through with on/off toggle is unnecessary.
  • Participants disliked drill through with separate Filter and Drill through tabs because it made it hard to see what drill through has been applied
  • Participants found drill through with checkbox confusing, and they had trouble locating entry point.
  • Participants preferred the drillthrough bucket in filters pane. They said that it was easy to know how to get started here (i.e., by dragging a field into the bucket).

Final Design

Based on users feedback on different concepts that we tested, it was obvious that users preferred the drillthrough bucket in filters pane since the approach is almost as same as adding other filters to their reports and they already knew this process.


Some Users Feedback

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