Data visualization standards for

Guide for public dashboards and data visualization for the City and County of San Francisco.

These guidelines outline best practices for public reporting of data dashboards and visualizations.

This guide was created collaboratively in 2021 by DataSF, Digital Services, Controller’s Office, and several expert volunteers.
We aim to ensure data visualizations created for the public are:
  • Thoughtfully designed
  • Accessible and enjoyable
  • Mobile-responsive
For dashboards or data visuals going on a public website, implementing these guidelines should be considered a minimum criteria for your dashboard or product.

This guide is for analysts publishing visuals to the public.

This guide is for data analysts experienced in data visualization who plan to publish dashboards or data visuals on a public website. While this guidance is applicable for any website, following this guidance is required for any visuals going on the platform.
Nonetheless, many of the accessibility best practices are relevant and can be applied to internal reports as well.

Power BI resources

If you are using Power BI, use our template PBIX file and associated video tutorial and step-by-step guide . All the guidance below is already applied to our template, so it’s easy to just plug in your data and go!
Screenshot from our Power BI template file, highlighting the contents: there are several layout options, built-in spacers to help move and organize visuals, all formatting standards are built in, alt text and tab order are correct, and a date table and other advanced measures are also included.
Power BI-specific tips are highlighted throughout this document.
You should use this guide in concert with DataSF’s Power BI resource library.
Analysts can use any visualization software approved by their Department, and all of this same guidance applies.

Thank you!

This guide is only possible because of countless amazing articles, blog posts, and presentations on dashboarding, accessibility, and design. Thank you to the engineers, designers, accessibility experts, and other leaders that contributed to this work simply by publishing excellent resources elsewhere. Check out our resources section to find a list of resources we used.
Special thanks to several expert designers and engineers who worked on this guide and the corresponding Power BI template. Thank you to:
For Power BI implementation, we leaned heavily on the work of Meagan Longoria. Check out her Power BI checklist, and webinar on accessibility.
Last modified 1mo ago