Segmenting data is arguably the most common type of interaction that folks in any organisation will do with their data. e.g. Looking at customers only in North America or analysing user activity only by the most active 10 users. For analytics engineers or data consumers, it’s critical to be able to filter your data to just what you need to make a decision in your business - it’s just easier when you’re only looking at what you need to!
Filtering helps us discover and build better stories for our data. So for any BI product worth its salt, filtering is high up on the agenda. So when we decided to extend the filtering functionality in Lightdash, we knew it had to be a great user experience!
Adding filters and keeping Lightdash performant definitely posed challenges for the engineering team, but we also had to think hard about the best user experience when it comes to filters. Under the hood, we built a powerful and flexible filtering API that enables us to support 3 really key filter features:
You can apply a filter to an entire dashboard and you can save them so that everyone sees the same story on a dashboard, or do them on the fly if you’re looking for something in particular to make exploration more powerful.
You can also right-click directly on a component of any data visualisation or chart in a dashboard and quickly apply a cross-filter across all related charts with that value. For example you could quickly filter your sales dashboards to view only data related to credit card sales.
When you’re exploring data, you can also filter directly on values from your results table or from the sidebar by right-clicking on any metric or dimension you want to filter by. We wanted filters in the explore view to feel more intuitive than just adding a list of filters in a form. We didn’t want it to feel like a chore or intimidating for the user.
As filters are added - you’ll see them pop up at the top of the chart or dashboard you’re applying them to. This is so it’s easy for you to see all the filters you’re adding in one place, no matter where you applied them from.
We also believe filtering should happen everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Filter charts, filter tables, filter dashboards, filter from the sidebar! So that’s what we built. In Lightdash, you can now apply filters as soon as you see the metric or dimension you want, wherever it is. You can click directly on the value you want to filter by in the results, use the sidebar or even click directly on charts.
As with all our features, we build with and for our community, and a special shout out to Tom from Airtasker and Nikita from Supabase who provided us with early feedback on this one! We’re also still iterating on it now, so join the fun.