Please note that Portals for Tableau are now officially known as Curator by InterWorks. You can learn more at the official Curator website.
We’re thrilled to share a bit of exciting news: Portals for Tableau, our branded analytics platform, has been officially rebranded as Curator by InterWorks! For those unfamiliar with the platform, Curator lets you create beautiful websites and seamlessly integrate your analytics into one platform for a better data experience.
The next logical question is: “Why the change?” Portals have been around for a few years now, and in that time they’ve evolved considerably. As we’ve built a more robust platform, we felt it deserved a more fitting name and full brand refresh. Whether you’re acquainted with the platform already or completely new, we want to take this opportunity to reintroduce you.
First, to get a better grasp on what Curator is and helps you achieve, we encourage you to check out the sizzle video below. If you’re looking for more details, you’ll find a Q&A with the very team that built and supports Curator. There, they explain how Curator works in their own words. Finally, if you’re ready to explore Curator for yourself, head over to the official Curator website for all the details and even some interactive demos. Happy curating!
The Origin Story
Q: “How did Curator (formerly Portals) begin? What client challenges prompted the creation of this solution?”
Derrick Austin: Like many things at InterWorks, Curator was born out of clients’ needs. When Tableau added support for embedding dashboards, I was working with a client that was VERY interested in user adoption and visual appeal. Embedded analytics addresses both needs perfectly. We built out a quick embedded area, and the feedback was phenomenal. Soon, clients everywhere were asking us to help with their embedded solutions. At the time, we were building new sites from scratch for each client. We spent a lot of time rebuilding the same thing repeatedly. Quickly, we realized there had to be a better way. We took what we had learned from our consulting engagements and packaged it into a product. We could never have imagined how this simple change in philosophy would propel our work.
By productizing the offering, we were finally able to focus on building new and innovative features instead of reinventing the wheel. Over the past several years, every time a coworker or client had a new idea, we’d look at it and determine whether or not we should add it to the core product. Often, we would, which allowed us to build an expansive solution to embedding analytics. The product has continued to grow and evolve, offering more and better solutions to engaging audiences. One client even recently remarked, “The InterWorks portal product has so many features that it takes a lifetime to become familiar with all of them.”
Q: “What does the Curator brand represent?”
Ben Bausili: For me, Curator has always been about empowering users to take design beyond the dashboard to make analytics across a company more effective. Like a good museum curator, it’s not just about what you display, but it’s about how you display it. The way you group insights, the navigation you build, the context and commentary you add, the ease of access and even the visual design all add up into the final user experience. When users find the experience easy and fun, they are more likely to come back. Most of Curator encapsulates our ongoing mission to improve how users select, organize and present insights.
Q: “How does Curator work?”
Justin Lyons: Curator does all the behind-the-scenes work of presenting your company’s stellar reports in a brand-forward environment. It leverages Tableau’s REST API to communicate with your Tableau Server or Tableau Online Site to pull metadata related to your reports and users, so it can display the right reports to the right people. Curator stays lightweight by not needing to store the data or reports, instead letting Tableau do all the heavy lifting.
There are also all the controls you could dream of for crafting your branded experience – no code required. We have simple toggles and menus to change navigation hierarchy, colors, fonts and much more. This all works and continues to get better as us Curator Experience Engineers build out the HTML, CSS, JS and PHP (with the expert designs from the Curator Experience Designers) so you don’t have to.
Q: “What technical challenges does Curator solve for clients?”
Matthew Orr: The list of ways Curator solves technical challenges for clients is long and ever-growing:
- White-labeling: Curator makes it easy to white-label your dashboards and conform to your corporate brand identity. Numerous stylistic choices are provided as simple settings, but there’s always the ability to fine-tune or really go the extra mile with custom code.
- Global filters and parameters: Many dashboards use the same filters or parameters. Curator provides “sticky” filters, letting you turn filter and parameter selection into a set-it-and-forget-it affair.
- Report Builder and scheduling: Dashboards tend to shine in meetings, so it’s commonplace to build out a slide deck of multiple dashboards or dashboards with multiple versions of the same dashboard with various filters and marks selected. Curator’s Report Builder functionality makes that as easy as a click of the mouse.
- Stories and mixed content using Page Builder: Curator makes it easy to add narratives to each story point and automatically highlight them as your audience navigates through a story dashboard. Additionally, Curator’s Page Builder makes it easy to combine one or more dashboards with text, images, videos and other content on the same page.
- Discovery and curation of content: Curator’s custom navigation, homepage tiles, search and related and recommended content lists make it easy to curate the dashboards based on need and discover new dashboards to enhance self-service analytics.
- Centralization: Not only can you publish your Tableau dashboards in Curator, but you can also have related PDFs, contact information, links to external systems and even embed those external systems within Curator.
- Notices and tutorials: Curator’s tutorial functionality makes it easy to guide your audience in the best way to use dashboards and interpret the information. Curator’s notices are there to explain data refresh schedules or other details pertinent to the dashboards to reduce confusion.
- Usage analytics: Curator integrates with popular web analytics platforms to make it easy to track usage of the site, dashboards and even filters within dashboards. You can use this to see where your audience may be stumbling or to better highlight the most useful content.
Q: “How often is new functionality added to Curator? What goes into that process?”
Nathan Ojeda: We have an update to Curator come out once or twice a month. New features will usually be added into Curator with the same frequency. While most of the updates include bug fixes, UX improvements and optimization, we like to add in new features to go along with that. We get ideas for new features from within the team and from client suggestions. We look at the time, impact and need of a feature to determine its placement in a list of potential features.
Q: “What is the importance of meaningful design to an analytics experience? How does Curator deliver that?”
Skylark Macadamia: When it comes to design, my job is to make you forget that my job exists. With Curator, we’ve kept all the features our users loved about Portals for Tableau and created a simplified backend experience that allows you to configure features and design as easily as you would with any other site builder. This means you don’t have to be a developer or an analyst to tell a compelling story with data. From scheduling custom data reports to tailored walk-through tutorials to commenting, Curator allows users to see what they need in the moment and nothing more. No clutter, just your data, curated.
Q: “What goes into designing a Curator instance? Who’s involved, and how do you make it unique for each client?”
David Duncan: Customizing these things are fun. I aim to connect with our clients early in the design process to understand direction and goals for the team. Then, while coming up with various ideas inspired by the brand’s culture, style or direction, I try to streamline a user’s journey through a sea of data. Personally, data tends to overwhelm me, so I like to take guided and very user-friendly approaches to displaying and interacting with data. I love presenting multiple design options to clients and bringing them into the decision-making process. This tends to get the right energy behind the project and pushes into #bestwork.
Q: “Just how customizable is design and user experience in Curator? What’s possible?”
Chelsea Morgan: The possibilities with Curator are almost endless. With the ability to select, organize and display your data, it has never been easier to create a beautiful and easy-to-use online home for your analytics. With a myriad of features including customizable colors, fonts and layouts, Curator helps you to tell your unique data story. Just like the name implies, the power to curate is in your hands, so every piece of your analytics is presented just the way you want it.
The Use Cases
Q: “Who is Curator for? What types of organizations would get the most value from it?”
Mark Bingham: Curator is for anyone who wants to elevate and organize their analytics. When you’re dealing with a lot of disparate dashboards, files, PDFs and web pages, and you need a central location to send your audience, Curator is the right call for you. Whether it’s adding in a new logo, applying your brand’s styles guide and UX standards, or simply creating a menu structure that’s more focused on your audience than on your data sources, Curator will help your audience find the right data more quickly in the right context.
Curator is also built to be managed by your entire team. Curator utilizes a drop-down and form-based content management system, so it’s a no-code solution. However, we’ve also added custom-code sections to help the developers on your team if they want to explore and customize. With each Curator deployment, our support team is always ready to answer your questions and assist you with any setup, so you’re never in the dark with Curator.
Q: “What are some interesting uses for Curator that have emerged over the years? Any on the horizon?”
Ben Bausili: We have so many great use cases from people using it as a platform to create internal analytic communities or using it to build their core analytic products on our platform, enabling them to bring insights to their customers. I think the most interesting use cases I’ve seen have been this year, where companies have been using it to keep people informed as we navigate the large-scale changes that 2020 has brought. One healthcare client used their portal to quickly display key dashboards in their “war room” so that leadership always had the most up-to-date data available in their meetings. That same client also leverages features like our keyword pages to make dynamic landing spots for their employees where the latest analysis on key topics would show up as they added.
Q: “What are some of your favorite client reactions or comments when they start using Curator?”
Derrick Austin: As you probably know, InterWorks prioritizes one thing above all else: relationships. Whatever you do in life, relationships will be a key part of your job. Relationships with coworkers and clients are really what make working at InterWorks special. We love doing fun projects, but if we aren’t completing the projects in a way that makes people want to do more work with us, then we aren’t being true to our mission. The whole Curator team really embraces this concept – it’s the very essence of who we are and where we want to go. Because of that, our favorite client reactions and comments center around this philosophy.
It always bring joy to my day to hear about the “white glove” service a client has received from someone on our team. Sometimes, I’ll even review old comments to remind myself why we do what we do. Here are a few of my favorites from over the years:
“The customer service that we are experiencing with you and InterWorks is phenomenal!”
“I can’t even begin to thank you for this, it works PERFECTLY. Please let me know where to input my sincere and incredible appreciation for the top support InterWorks provides its clients. Outstanding per usual.”
“The portal product from InterWorks has been amazing and is a huge part of why our go-live has been so successful. We continue to be excited with all the features and functionalities and potential of it, and it really has filled a significant gap for us!”
“Holy sh!* that looks awesome!”