Success with Sisense Color Palettes
Updated: Jan 29, 2019
Using a Sisense color palette that presents analytics in colors matching your brand provides your users with a more binding dashboard experience. You can also use your Sisense palette for consistency of metric presentation by adopting a standard color scheme.
The Sisense palette capability does a nice job of supporting these objectives. Custom palettes (to support your color scheme) are created in the REST API tool in the Admin section of your Sisense site. Very good directions on how to do this are available on the Sisense support site: https://support.sisense.com/hc/en-us/articles/230652748-Edit-a-Color-Palette- However, during a recent Sisense dashboard training web meeting, several attendees asked how to go about picking colors and determining what their palette should be? I struggled a little with this same issue when I was new to Sisense, so I thought I would share what I learned.
Its always good to have a starting point. My starting point was my company's standard colors. These were in use on the company website, email signatures, business cards, etc. Marketing or your website group can normally provide them to you. You will want the hex values (as opposed to CMYK or RGB color values), because the Sisense REST API requires hex. If you can only get CMYK or RGB, just Google RGB to hex. Many online color convertor tools will return. Use one of them to convert your values to hex.
If you are unable to get them from these folks, you can add and use the Chrome browser ColorZilla color sampling extension. Among other features, it provides an eyedropper tool that you can use on your company's web page to determine the hex colors in use. At the time of this post, the ColorZilla extension is located here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/colorzilla/bhlhnicpbhignbdhedgjhgdocnmhomnp There are other similar free extensions for Chrome if you prefer.
Sisense color palettes support 6 base colors. (Note this has been expanded in the latest Sisense versions to many more colors) What if you only have 2 or three? Or you don't want to use company colors? It is very easy to create or extend a set of complementary colors with Adobe's online color tool, Adobe Color CC: https://color.adobe.com/create/color-wheel This free browser based tool allows you to input one or more colors and produce an attractive color set for your palette. There are a number of Color Rule choices as you will see. I like the Compound rule the best. Based on one or more hex (or RGB) colors, the Compound rule produces 5 complementary colors. Enter the color you want to base your palette on in the far right color block. 4 complementary colors will be generated. See the screen shot of the Adobe CC tool below.
What about the 6th color? For a recent project, I used single color chosen by the customer to produce the 4 complementary colors. The customer had a 2nd complementary color in high use on their site so I simply added it to the color list in the Sisense REST API. You may also enter one of the 4 complementary colors in the far right color block to generate colors that are complementary to it and choose the one you like from the 4 created. 5 colors can be used if you can't come up with a 6th.
ColorSpace is another new free browser tool that will generate multiple palettes from a single color. It's slightly less flexible than Adobe Color CC, but the top 2 palettes have 6 colors!
Once you are in the REST API interface, the Color Palette commands are located in the 0.9 menu. The 1.0 menu loads automatically so you will have to select the 0.9 menu. It is always a good idea to run the Get /palettes command to review your existing palettes and understand a little more about the model schema (JSON) format required for the POST /palettes command. This command returns a list of all existing palettes and their parameters. The palette commands are shown in the screen shot below. Note the 0.9 selected in the upper right.
Following Sisense' instructions to create the palette, I recommend that you name your palette with something unique (your company, division or product name) for easy recognition. You'll note that the even though you are only providing 6 colors, the generated palette you see in widgets has 5 shades for each of those colors. The range of these shades can be set with the min and max parameters in the JSON. I have to say that I never set them and have always gotten good results. They are there if you need them. I also recommend that you make your new palette the default palette. This will help insure color consistency for your dashboards.
If you make a mistake you can always use the PUT / palettes command to update your palette. I find it just as easy to use DELETE / palettes to delete my new palette and start over. Be sure to copy and save your successful model schema for your documentation.
With your palette in place, you can decide if it is appropriate to designate palette colors to be applied to certain metrics. Examples:
a metric or family of metrics are always shades of the same color
if more than one business unit or division is presented on dashboards, metrics for each are primarily presented in shades of a color.
I'm sure you can think of other ideas along these lines.
Doing this can help improve user recognition on dashboards, but is not absolutely required.
I have not addressed color blindness issues in this post. You can Google choosing colors that work for the color blind for information. This will return a number of excellent resources on this topic.