Naming Data Reports to Enhance Findability (1 of 9 Best practices for reporting portals)

Very often a project or pro­gram will need a report­ing portal.

It may start as a small folder for reports and grows with the project. Even “Big Data” projects can have mul­ti­ple small report­ing por­tals sep­a­rate from the main report­ing por­tal. In this arti­cle, I will share with you some best prac­tices to make a small report­ing por­tal that helps users get to the infor­ma­tion they need, with min­i­mal sup­port over­head, that can grow as the project grows. Here’s the first of the nine best practices:

1. Cre­ate brief, descrip­tive names for key reports and put them in a top level folder

Iden­tify the report or reports that most end users will need and put these at the top level folder so the user can down­load them eas­ily with few clicks. Do not change the names as peo­ple will link to them con­sis­tently. Be descrip­tive of what’s in the report so the user will be able to under­stand what’s in them, but not too spe­cific — only what is essen­tial to describe the con­tents. . Be con­sis­tent in nam­ing — con­sider hav­ing a fixed for­mat — be brief as pos­si­ble in descrip­tion (makes eas­ier to link to)/ If some­thing is under­stood to be every­thing (eg a national or world­wide report), con­sider not adding a description:

eg <discipline><topic><region>

For exam­ple:

This:
Online Page Views
Sales_​Units_​Revenues_​Central
Marketing_​Online Cam­paign Analysis_​Eastern

Not This:
Online Sys­tem Reg­is­tra­tions _​Worldwide_​All Regions
Sales Reports_​March_​30_​2012_​Central Regional Head­quar­ters
East­ern Region Mar­ket­ing Campaigns_​1_​1_​2012_​2_​28_​12

How do your users keep track of report­ing dates, updates, data sources if not in the report title? I’ll cover that in my next post on using meta­data to facil­i­tate report­ing. If done cor­rectly, it sim­pli­fies use and reduces tech­ni­cal sup­port issues.

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