Power BI Mobile Reporting from Prathy’s Blog…
Steadily more users are getting interested in Power BI mobile reports, especially when you design reports for executives; they are more interested in mobile view, of course, they do want to explore the detail data but not always. Until recently, I was someone who doesn’t pay much attention to mobile reporting unless the user explicitly asks for one. So, when I don’t create a layout for mobile when the user opens the report using Mobile App, it automatically opens the report in landscape mode. Which is fine but it’s not designed for that purpose, it misses the sleek look.
Creating a mobile report is pretty easy in Power BI but creating a good one is not that easy. In this blog post, I want to show how I approach mobile reports in Power BI.
Few things to note before we look into mobile reports:
First of all how to design a mobile report; docs has an excellent explanation including considerations here – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/desktop-create-phone-report
then a few factors to highlight:
You can only use visible visuals which are available on a report page
Power BI background images won’t auto fit for mobile layout
You can not overlay visuals
By considering above let’s see how we can design a proper Power BI mobile report:
To start, I have a Power BI Model with the below report page. In this page, I used page backgrounds, default paper colour with a background image with a fit layout.
Users can view this report correctly in mobile in landscape mode. However; there is a lot of detail in this report, so I want to show only a few visuals in the mobile layout.
Few other things to consider, I am using a dark background, so as I blogged here – #POWERBI FOCUS MODE AND DARK BACKGROUND IMAGES, I am not able to see most of my visuals correctly in the focus mode or mobile view. Next, in my desktop layout, I am using a beautiful grid layout which makes my report look tidy. However, when it comes to mobile design, I am losing the grid layout.
So creating a report based on existing visuals is pretty straightforward. However, it feels not right. To make it beautiful, we need to find a few workarounds.
I am a huge fan of background images but if you need to create mobile layouts then probably it’s good to not to use them if they are not working for mobile design. Instead, use visual backgrounds and Titles with backgrounds.
It always makes sense to separate the visuals, with a sensible gap or a line. I like to separate visuals with a thin line but while you are working with mobile reporting every bit of space is essential and probably, having dedicated space for a line is not great. Notably, the line takes like three cells. With the latest PBI desktop, we get a blank gap between each visual in Mobile Layout. But in the older versions, all visuals were attached. ( I don’t know since when we are getting this separator, but it’s excellent! It’s was not there before)
Visual backgrounds come handy when you don’t want to use separators. Having visuals with different background colour next to each kind of gets separated because of diverse backgrounds. But these won’t look great in the desktop/web view.
One way we can get away with the same background which looks nice on both mobile and web layout is by using borders. We can use the border as background, so you don’t see the border in the desktop/web layout but will see them in the mobile report.
Overlay of visuals
Or another way is having two visuals of same overlayed one on the other. One to use in Mobile layout and others to use in desktop/web layout. This works significant but, it can impact on the performance. Remember the more visuals we have more time it takes to load the report. (Hopefully one day, I will blog about debugging a report). Overlaying visuals is excellent, but when it comes to slicers, they may not work exactly the way we want. But we can use Sync Slicers advanced options and get away with it as I blogged here – SYNC SLICERS & SYNC SLICERS ADVANCED OPTIONS
Lets’ see how we can use the above workarounds with our example.
For the same report page we saw earlier, I updated all backgrounds of the visuals to the same as a report background image I was using. Now the mobile layout looks a tiny bit better. As I mentioned earlier, with the latest release, we do get a nice gap between all visuals. So, now my mobile layout looks a lot better by just placing all visuals and titles, like below:
It already looks great, but if we want to make it better, we can try overlaying visuals. For example, slicers; checkboxes are not significant to tap in the mobile screen. So, I can duplicate that slicer and change the orientation to horizontal, hide it behind the same slicer and put these two slicers in the same Sync slicers group like below. Now, in my mobile view, I can use a horizontal slicer, in web layout checkbox. Because they are in the same group, when the user changes the mobile orientation, visuals still make sense.
Next, the wide table, Instead of showing those many values, I want to show a few with multi-row card visual. Used the same method, created another visual with fewer attributes and hidden that under the table.
And now my mobile report looks a lot better and more readable. when I change the orientation, I can see detail view and in the mobile layout, I can see fewer rows.
In summary, don’t ignore mobile viewers while designing a report page. Few simple changes help to design excellent mobile reports. Hope it gave some inspiration.
Until next time,