Monday, June 18, 2012

Tableau Server Users Config - confusing UI

This is the UI presented by Tableau Server for Users configuration. It's found via Administration | Users.

It should be simple and straightforward, an easy way to configure User properties. As implemented, simple problems impede ease of use.

The Problems

Fundamentally, the ordering of the common elements in the set of links and the table header is different. And they're split in the top list. And they use different names for the same thing for 2 of the 3 items.

Try picking out the related items from the two lists:

  • Publishing | Admin | Group + | Group - | License user
  • License Level | Admin | Publish

It's far more difficult than it should be. The disjoint lists forces the User—you—to reshuffle your scanning every time you look from one list to the other, imposing a significant cognitive load for no visible benefit.

In one sense it doesn't really matter what order the lists' common items are in—they must be in the same order unless there are exceptionally strong reasons otherwise.


  • Publishing or Publish — which is it?
  • License Level or License User — which is it?
    It's License Level pretty much everywhere else, so why is License User here?
  • License Level, Admin, and Publish
    Grouping and Ordering — these elements are interrelated in their effect upon the Permissions ultimately granted to a User, and are related in that order. This order is fairly consistent throughout Tableau's documentation. (but not universally)
    • Why are they in a different order in the top line?
    • Why are they separated by the Group+ and Group - elements?

The Solution

This one is pretty easy to solve, at this level, simply use the same list in both places, e.g.

  • Group + | Group - | License Level | Admin | Publish
  • License Level | Admin | Publish | Group + | Group -

About the Groups

Whether the Group items go before or after License Level | Admin | Publish is dependent upon the presentation of the Users' group membership. With it embedded in the link as at present putting them before makes sense.

But this presentation is itself open to challenge, but that's another post.

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