HOWTO: Hide filters for dimensions that confuse users


For data entry forms (and even some reports) its pretty important to keep contributors focused on their specific task. Its especially easy for users who are not familiar with OLAP or PPS to be confused by some things: "TimeDataView" and "Business Process" are two dimensions in particular that are just not relevant to expose to contributors most of the time. To create a data-entry form with a writable region, however, its necessary to use each dimension in your matrix, so let’s see what we can do about this...

Here's a matrix with some distracting filters – the highlighted ones that most contributors don’t need to know – at least for this hypothetical scenario:

Report6-ConfusingFilters

 

Now lets go to the report properties editor, where when you select a filter some properties can be edited:

Report6-FilterProperties

 

Marking the distracting filters hidden will hide it in the Excel worksheet, but not the filter popup dialog:

Report6-Hidden Report6-HiddenStillInPopup

 

Marking a filter locked will hide it in the filter popup dialog:

Report6-ConfusingFiltersReport6-HiddenAndLockedNotInPopup

 

Marking a filter hidden and locked will hide from both the worksheet and the popup:

Report6-HiddenReport6-HiddenAndLockedNotInPopup

In the authoring UI the filter is always shown, which concerns some people. In my experience, it looks like not a lot of contributors are distracted by this. They focus on the areas in the workbook where they are working. And when they do need to change filters they use the popup, and so don't see the "extra" dimensions that can be confusing. (There’s no way to disable the authoring UI for certain reports or for assignments. Users should be able to still use authoring to create their own matrices. And there are valid scenarios to allow them to edit even the data-entry matrices for their ease. Probably in a future version though there will be a way to lock specific matrices added - at least in assignments for the scenarios where users don’t need to make any changes. It's a relatively common request anyway - but of course I can't make any guarantees.)

Comments (7)
  1. Sinclair Boyd says:

    I agree – getting rid of distractions is important.

    Focus, focus, focus!

    Thank you!

  2. Peter,

    Your points are really good.  Those little things can make a big difference.

    On a related thread — any plans to allow for cascading filters or any work-arounds to provide those?  By that I mean, the choices that appear in one filter are limited by the choices you make in another?

    -Alan

  3. Peter Eb says:

    Alan-

    We’ve definitely discussed this one and its tricky – mainly because of the UI, not technical implementaiton. Presumably the order the filters appear in the rdl (and the popup) control the order in which they cascade. So that part is clear and already reorderable in the UI.

    But what controls the cascading? Are we looking for pre-defined attribute relationships in the cube? Is there some UI that needs to be used to define the relationship etc.

    Then of course what happens when the filters become out of sync? Do we just continue to show the filter selection out of scope error or what?

    We’ve proposed various alternative tradeoffs for these cases, but haven’t chosen one yet (although we do have a couple favorites which when they are more finalized we can talk about). So any feedback anybody has on how the cascading works would be good to validate the approach we do decide on.

  4. A great new PPS-P focused blog has been up and running for a good few weeks now. Peter Eb. , a developer

  5. Pierre Naude says:

    Hi Peter,

    you mentioned in the blog:

    "And there are valid scenarios to allow them to edit even the data-entry matrices for their ease"

    does this not affect the connection to the model at all? could i change dimension views in the matrix and then still capture and submit data using this different format?

    Pierre

  6. Peter Eb says:

    Yes, the permissions are defined on the model, not in the form so changing the matrix will allow the contributor to submit different data then the default layout of the matrix.

    Also the settings of the cycle (time/scenario/model) will be fixed so the writable area is slightly filtered from what is defined on the model.

  7. Dating says:

    For data entry forms (and even some reports) its pretty important to keep contributors focused on their specific task. Its especially easy for users who are not familiar with OLAP or PPS to be confused by some things: "TimeDataView" and "Business

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