Like so many others, I have been playing the popular puzzle game Wordle. I realized there are many parallels between what makes this game so successful and what makes a company's reporting and data visualization effective. Here are five parallels.
1. You Don't Have to Keep Explaining It
The first time you play Wordle you are presented with information on what the colors green, yellow and gray mean within the game. But after that, there is no need to ever see that again. You remember without having to look it up or look at a key or some other guide. You just get it. That is what a well designed data visual does as well. If you have to work too hard to explain it, the design should be improved. Using colors and other simple design elements make the game fun and easy to play. Keep these same ideas in mind when creating your company dashboards and reports.
2. Everyone's on the Same Page
In Wordle, everyone is playing the same word each day. You don’t have one person hunting for the word 'STAIN' while another person is searching for 'MOIST'. Everyone is aligned in tackling the word of the day. Similarly, you don’t want your users going to all different places to find answers to critical business information. You don't want Fred from accounting looking at his local Excel spreadsheet to retrieve monthly revenue where Sarah in sales is looking at Salesforce. As much as possible, you want everyone looking at the same data and being a part of the same game.
3. Sharing is Simple
After you play a game of Wordle, you can easily share your results with others in a simple, effective way. Your company's reporting solution should offer the same. Want to share the top product sales trends with others? The right reporting solution will allow you to do this.
4. Limited Red Tape To Play
You don't need to log in or register to play Wordle. You don't have passwords to remember, don't need to verify your email, input sensitive information, or input a code from your phone. It just lets you in and lets you play. That's it. Obviously that isn't possible to have your sensitive business that open. But there are ways to make it easier on your users. One tactic is to use embedded dashboards. This will allow your users to access information within Salesforce, your CRM system, or other critical business applications. Another idea is to utilize integrated authentication between your reporting solution (Tableau, Power BI, or others) and your company network. This will allow your users to automatically login to your reporting solution. Less friction and red tape means your users are more likely to visit your reporting solutions more frequently.
5. Your Time Commitment is Minimal
The daily amount of time you can devote to playing Wordle is limited. It is easy to go back each day because the time commitment is minimal. Depending on your skill, you may only need to devote a few minutes to complete a game. That’s it. You can’t get too overwhelmed or find yourself playing game after game. It is simply not possible, the system won’t allow it. When it comes to your company's business reporting, what daily time commitment are you expecting from your users? Can users get in and out in just a minute or two? Sometimes users can get overwhelmed by too many options of reports and information. That complexity can increase the time commitment needed to get the answers they need and keep them from coming back at all. Limit the top-level options for reporting. Let them decide to dig in to see more, but don’t force it upon them. Give them small bites to start. If you reduce the time commitment for your users and they are more likely to come back often.
Bonus: Watch Out for Double Letters
Wordle puzzles that contain a duplicate letter have tripped me up several times! Avoid anything that will do the same for your users.