Looker Visualisations

Adrien Boutreau
February 17, 2020
Read: 4 min

Looker offers a wide range of visualisation options such as pie charts, funnels, and single-value metrics. However, as you are working with stakeholders in different business contexts, you occasionally need to showcase data in a way that is not readily available.

For example, let’s say you want to represent customer journeys on a website using a flow chart. Or maybe a hierarchy of categories in a tree-based model. Or just a catchy view of a single record?

Luckily, Looker enables us to import and use custom visualizations in addition to prebuilt chart types.

liquid gauge

Before Looker 7.0

How to add them?

You can add any existing visualizations from the Visualizations Panel in the Admin Board.

Admin Visualizations

On this board, you can add a new visualization.

To add a new chart type, fill in the “ID“ and “Label” fields. Keep in mind that when you select a visualization, the Label you chose will appear as a title in the Visualization header.

Explore Visualization

Looker has developed some example visualizations, which are available on their Github Repository and on their website. It is also possible to create a viz from scratch using this guide that explains how to set up a simple visualization script.

How to use them?

Once added, the custom visualizations are immediately available in any Explore of your choice. What’s important is that you select the necessary number of fields.

For example, the Sankey chart is a type of flow diagram that needs at least 2 dimensions and 1 measure. But for the Collapsible Tree, which shows parent-to-child relationships, you need 2 or more dimensions.

In our example of a customer journey, we track customer actions on an e-commerce website using Snowplow. Thanks to this Sankey diagram, we can easily visualize usage patterns.

customer journey sankey

Alternatively, with the same data and the Chord visualization type, we have been able to explore the flow of users between linked pages:

customer journey chord

Or we can display a Retail Department Hierarchy, for example, using a Collapsible Tree.

grocery categories

Another catchy option for visualizing parts of a whole together with hierarchical data is the Sunburst chart type:

grocery sunburst

After Looker 7.0


Looker has added a new marketplace feature with Looker 7.0

Looker Marketplace

This feature lets you easily enable even more custom visualizations. Those discussed above are now available through the marketplace icon. You are still able to customize them and add them from the Admin panel.

The marketplace offers interesting new viz types, like the Calendar Heatmap, the Spider, the Gauge, or even the Image Carousel! The Calendar Heatmap is a nice way to display the number of events in a calendar style.

Heatmap Calendar

The Spider chart, on the other hand, can help to visually compare different values in different zones as in this example:

spider chart

The last one is a fancy new feature that can be helpful if you need a slideshow of images.

image carousel

Many other cool visualizations are available, you should take a Look! These new plug-ins show us that Looker is continuously investing in helping analysts and business users better and more easily visualize data, which is key to generating taking the right actions!

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