Accessibility – Accessible Power BI Dashboard vs Accessible Tableau Dashboard

Accessible Power BI Dashboard


Accessible Tableau Dashboard

Companies today, regardless of their size or their market, use Business Intelligence tools.

The primary purpose of a Business Intelligence tool is to assist businesses in decision-making by visualize their data in the form of dashboards in order to gain insights of their data and better understand the impact of past actions and make future strategies accordingly.

There are numerous Business Intelligence tools are available in the market today. But two of the most well-known ones are Microsoft Power BI and Tableau.

This article will help you understand the various differences between creating accessible Microsoft Power BI dashboard vs accessible Tableau dashboard that you should consider while choosing the right tool for your business.

  • Keyboard shortcuts: 

Power BI: The report is screen reader ready in window mode. No need for the report user to switch to “Full Screen” mode to navigate freely in the dashboard.

Tableau: If you are not using the dashboard in “Full screen” mode, then the tab keyboard shortcut is going through all the available menu options on the open web page screen including the dashboard.

If the report user switches to the “Full Screen” mode right after they open the report, then the tab keyboard shortcut is only going through the dashboard.

Accessible Power BI Dashboard

  • Tab Order – Focus Order:

Power BI: In Power BI you can easily change the tab order through the Power BI Desktop GUI, with just dragging an item to a new position from the list.

Accessible Tableau Dashboard

Tableau: In Tableau the tab order is called “Focus Order”. The focus order of the zones (view and objects) in a dashboard is set by the order in which they are added to the dashboard during authoring. The result is often a focus order that isn’t logical and doesn’t meet the requirement of the WCAG Focus Order guideline. To explicitly control the focus order of the zones, you have two options:

        1. Ensure you add the zones to the dashboard in the desired focus order while designing your dashboard.
        2. Manually edit the XML of the Tableau workbook (.twb) file to set the focus order.

Since adding the zones to the dashboard in the desired focus order can be inconvenient, editing the XML of the Tableau workbook file is usually the more commonly used choice. But it requires knowledge of the XML language.

Tableau Accessible Report

  • Alt Text / Caption / Titles: 

Power BI: In Power BI things are very easy and simple, alt text can easily be added to every object that conveys meaningful information on our dashboard through Power BI Desktop GUI. Alt text doesn’t need to be visible which provides a simple not crowded dashboard design.

Tableau: When a user navigates to a view on a dashboard using the keyboard (using Tab or Shift + Tab), a screen reader will speak:

        1. Title of the view (if visible)
        2. Caption of the view (if visible)
        3. Keyboard shortcuts for clearing any selected marks and opening the View Data window 
        4. alt-text for only Image Objects (if any)

Unfortunately, Tableau does not offer keyboard or screen reader support for any interactions with marks on a visualization, tooltips, and so on.

So, to be able to replicate the functionally in Power BI, descriptions added as filters titles and caption options turned on for the charts.

***But please keep in mind that screen readers only read specific types of filters, such as “single value list”, “multiple values (dropdown)” but not “multiple values (list)”.

One workaround, while not perfect, is to use Viz. Even though It’s not the best for screen reader functionality, I think it’s better than the default behavior of Tableau.

Tableau Accessibility


Tableau Accessibility Alt Text

  • Colors and Styles:

Both applications have various available color options. 

      • Color blind safe – they both offer this option
      • High contrast – they both offer this option


  • When consuming Tableau Visualizations on the web a user cannot keyboard navigate to marks of a visual and trigger events which can be utilized by the mouse. 
  • While browsing through Tableau dashboard, it can be very intense to try and navigate the data table to answer the questions we have of the data. While the table does provide access to the visualization’s data, if enabled, it can present the user with a different data structure, have fields which are not really meant for user consumption (e.g., labeling and styling calculations) and also does not include any of the interactivity features which can make Tableau so dynamic and great to work with.
  • Adding descriptions, filters titles and caption options turned on for the charts made our dashboard very crowded.
  • Either adding the zones to the dashboard in the desired focus order or editing the XML of the Tableau workbook file are hard to set a “Focus Order”.
  • On the other hand, Power BI dashboards can be designed in a way that is accessible to screen readers and also with various color options. Even though Power BI has also lacked some accessibility features, in our opinion it is far more advanced in being an accessible dashboard than the Tableau.


Interested in custom designed high quality Accessible reports?  Anyon ConsultingBI group can help.  Contact us today to learn more about our  Custom Report Development

Scroll to top