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2023 Product Updates: Features & Enhancements
2023 Product Updates: Features & Enhancements

Review the latest & most exciting features available in mySidewalk.

Written by Pat Corran
Updated over a week ago

August 2023

Curated Content Guides Inspire Users to Select Data and Quickly Build Dashboards

Pre-selected indicators around curated topics makes data storytelling easier and enhances user experience

Data analysis and storytelling can be challenging for many, particularly those who are new to working with community data - even if they are familiar with the subject matter. Users especially face challenges at specific decision points in the workflow, such as determining what data is available for a given topic, selecting which data to use, and knowing how to structure their visualizations and text. This feature caters to both experienced data storytellers looking for inspiration and beginners who need guidance in using data to convey their message effectively.

Data Guides have a fresh look and feel, in addition to new content to increase their value to users who are looking for inspiration for story, validation that they’re on the right track, or both.


  • New Guides & experience - Over the next few weeks, we are releasing new Data Guides. Some of the topics are highly requested, including:

    • Substance Use Disorders

    • Maternal & Child Health

    • Community Risk Assessment

    • Food Insecurity Healthcare Access

    • Digital Inclusion

    • Community Safety and Support

Each Guide will include new pieces of useful content to support the data storytelling workflow and help users to get the most out of the platform tools and subject matter expertise.

  • Inspiration and validation as you work - In customer interviews, we've heard time and again how much you value peer examples for ideas and support. In fact, customers feel a strong sense of responsibility and ownership over what they publish for their audiences and try to personalize content accordingly. Each Guide now includes a 'Get Inspiration' section with examples from peers.

  • Storytelling shortcuts -Data Guides now include Templates (or "Story Blocks") to help users get started on a data story quickly. You can use these templates when you need to quickly share a few data points or building blocks in larger, threaded data story that take the form of reports or dashboards.

July 2023

Beta Release of Co-write, AI-assisted writing feature

Helping users to quickly and easily craft content for data stories

We get it — writing and communicating to an audience can be a daunting, time-consuming task. mySidewalk's AI-assisted writing feature, called Co-write, aims to make writing headlines, paragraphs, data summaries and other content easier. Pulling directly from our community data library, you can rest assured that content is fact-based, authentic and trustworthy.

For now, this feature is limited to a small group as we test and make improvements. If you're interested in becoming a beta tester, please complete this form or contact your Customer Success Manager directly.

Duplicate Dashboards Allows Users to Recreate Entire Data Stories

Duplicate your dashboard to quickly create a second copy of your complete data story.

Your data storytelling workflow just got better with the ‘Duplicate Dashboards’ feature. Now, it's easier than ever to recreate an entire data story with a couple clicks. With 'Duplicate Dashboards,' you can:

  • Create a clone of all parts of your data story, including sections, narratives and components,

  • Make updates or add-on to existing data stories without losing your original dashboard.

  • Uncover insights about how your data story looks in a different geography by selecting a new place when you duplicate your dashboard.


  • Build onto existing stories without starting over.

    • If you're working on a cyclical project and don't want to start building your data story from scratch each time you update something, this feature is your new best friend. Or, if you want to add/replace data and components without losing your original data story, this feature is also for you.

  • See your story in a new place.

    • Each time you select 'Duplicate Dashboard,' you can choose a new geography, then apply all sections, components and narratives. This makes it easy and simple to uncover insights in a new place. It's great for users who work with multiple communities on similar issues and anyone who wants to know what a data story could look like in another geography or granularity.

Important Note:

The 'Duplicate Dashboards' feature is accessible for Builder Pro and Builder Pro Enterprise tier subscribers. If you're interested in upgrading your subscription to access this feature, please contact your Customer Success Manager directly.

June 2023

Saved Workspaces Empower Users

Save your entire project setup in Seek in a single workspace

Have you ever tried to work on multiple projects in Seek simultaneously? Maybe you've tried revising a previous project — unsuccessfully — without losing any progress. Without a proper way to save and restore existing project settings, you may have spent valuable time recreating your work, reconfiguring data sources or reapplying visualization settings. This inefficiency hampers progress, disrupts your workflow and ultimately slows down your decision-making process.

Saved Workspaces addresses this problem by providing you and your data team with a convenient and intuitive way to save your entire project setup. It eliminates manual reconfiguration and significantly reduces the time and effort required to get back to a specific project or problem. You can seamlessly switch between tasks, maintain continuity, and pick up exactly where you left off. Whew!


  • You can save and revisit your work, effortlessly

    • Saved Workspaces increases productivity by streamlining project management across multiple data stories.

  • You and your experienced team can manage complex projects

    • If you work across various projects that require multiple data sources, including indicators with specific settings and complex/custom geographies, Saved Workspaces is a simple solution to maintain project continuity and efficiently manage complex workflows. It's also great if you work on long-term projects, collaborate across teams, and require the ability to save and restore project configurations effortlessly.

  • You can use it as a beginner with all the support you need

    • If you're new to the mySidewalk platform, Saved Workspaces is an excellent onboarding tool to help you quickly grasp how Seek can support your workflow across multiple projects. It will also help you find new value more quickly each time you return to Seek instead of having to start over and redo earlier tasks before finding new value.

Important notes

  • You — and all other users — have a permanent default workspace. You can repeatedly return to this workspace without saving. When you save a workspace, it resets your default.

  • You can save, duplicate, rename, and delete your workspaces. Note: deleted workspaces cannot be recovered.

  • You can choose where to start a Seek session: on your Saved Workspaces page (i.e. review all workspaces and select the one you want to work in), or in your Default Workspace (i.e. jump right into exploring Seek).

May 2023

Custom Charts for Everyone

Build charts by manually entering or importing your own data

Gone are the days where you need to create a data layer in mySidewalk to build a simple chart. Now, you (and everyone else) can manually input your data or import a CSV of your data to quickly generate a chart.

This update means that the feature is available to all mySidewalk users whenever they need it. It also expands the functionality to include data generation in two ways: both CSV import and manual input.

Custom chart in mySidewalk platform import from CSV

There is one caveat. First, remember that custom charts are static. Data in custom charts (like all charts made with user data) do not update automatically. This means that you (or your teammate) will need to re-input or reimport data as needed or desired to keep things up to date.

If you have questions or would like additional details, please review the Help Article for more information and a step by step guide to the feature.

Report Length Limits

An improved user experience for building and consuming reports

Previously, reports were unlimited. However, this function often resulted in the creation of visualization-heavy reports that could lead to performance issues, such as a delay in loading. Lengthy reports also have other usability issues — they can be challenging to navigate and consume.

Now, reports can include up to 15 visualizations at maximum. We believe that this not only improves the user's building experience, but it also improves the end user's ability to read, comprehend and consume the data and other information available in a report.

April 2023

Saving Visualizations is Super Easy

Save your Seek visualizations directly to a report or template

This is probably one of the coolest features that we've added to the platform ... like ever.

Seek provides the fastest way to find interesting insights in the data about your community. By saving visualizations you find in Seek directly to your report(s) or dashboard(s), you can build the outline of your story more quickly. Now, you can ship your insights directly to your story rather than recreating them.

Here's a quick video demo that can show you exactly how this feature works.


  • Maps are faster than ever.
    Maps can be time consuming to create, but with the new Seek-to-Chart workflow, this process takes seconds. Once you’ve found an interesting map in Seek, quickly send it to your report, hassle-free.

  • Add visualizations to new or existing reports and dashboards.
    The previous support for creating visualizations from Seek forced you to create a new report each time. This led to lots of clutter and made it easy to lose track of the report you want. The new experience makes it easy to pick an existing report or dashboard, or create a brand new one.

  • Non-disruptive workflow.
    Saving a visualization to Chart doesn’t stop you from exploring. You’ll just open up a new window to save the visualization in Chart, and you have the option to view and edit the visualization in Chart, or go right back to what you were doing in Seek.

Important notes

  • Not all visualizations are supported.
    The current experience is limited to the following component types: bar chart, call out, correlation chart, map, and time series chart.

  • Visualizations created with the workflow will look slightly differently in Chart than in Seek.
    Seek and Chart provide different defaults, levels of customization, etc. We’ll do our best to convert visualizations, but there are elements which will be different. We believe this new feature will save you time, and make it easier than ever to tell a compelling story about your community. It will also reduce the amount of time you need to check your work with visualizations in Chart.

If you have questions or would like additional details, please review the Help Article for more information and a step by step guide to the feature.

March 2023

Hello, New Homepage

Jump into your data storytelling workflow

We're so excited for you to see the refreshed and revitalized mySidewalk homepage. The new homepage centralizes access to the tools you love the most so that whenever you come to mySidewalk, you’re just one click away from finding the data you need, discovering valuable insights, and telling your community’s story.


  • Easily access our top storytelling tools, mapped to your workflow.
    Start data searches, create visualizations, and spin up stories from scratch or a template directly from the Homepage. Anything you need to do is immediately accessible — and organized by steps in your workflow — every time you come back to mySidewalk.

  • You can still pick up where you left off.
    If you have a report or dashboard that's a work in progress, you can get right back to it from the Recent Items list or go to all Reports, Dashboards, and Folders using the sidebar.

  • The next step toward a fully connected workflow.

    We believe that the best way to democratize data for Changemakers is to give you the tools that make every part of the data storytelling workflow easier to do. It also means connecting these parts, so you can move between them at the speed you need.

Important Notes

  • If you liked the items in the Quick Start menu at the top of the old homepage, don't worry. You can still access each of these from the Navigation or the left sidebar.

  • "Drawing Tools" is now labeled as "Draw a boundary" in the sidebar.

  • Reports, Folders and Layers have the same name.

  • You can now access data upload tools ("Upload Data") from the sidebar.

If you have any feedback on the new Homepage updates, we would love to hear it. Email us at [email protected] or get in touch with your mySidewalk representative to share your thoughts.

Dataset Time Elements

Improved displays

In the mySidewalk Catalog attribution pages, you'll notice that the time element displays look a little different. This is an improvement to make it easier to review the time elements associated with a selected dataset.

mySidewalk Catalog with improved time element displays.

mySidewalk Catalog

Updated navigation & access

Along with the newly designed Homepage, you'll notice that the mySidewalk Catalog link now lives under the Help menu in the upper right hand corner of the user interface.

This placement helps provide better clarity and movement through the platform. Additionally, you'll see that we removed the Catalog tab from the Layer page in Chart.

Seek Preferences

More Personal Profiles

Users are able to access the User Preferences page from Seek by clicking their name or account profile in the far right-hand corner of the user interface. Additionally your profile image will be visible now across Seek, Chart, and the mySidewalk Catalog.

February 2023

Trends Update

Quickly compare change across dozens of places

To better support the data storytelling workflow, we updated the Trends experience. The new setup makes it easier to find data insights, which in turn makes it easier to tell data stories. At a deeper level, this update makes it easier and more intuitive to explore data across a selection of regions.

Now, you can quickly compare changes across several places simultaneously to:

  • Identify benchmarks and baselines for planning purposes

  • Prioritize interventions based on the degree of change

  • Spot disparities

This allows you to find stories in the data by seeing selected regions next to each other.

After selecting as many regions as you'd like, try using the new Trends tab in one of these ways:

  • Calculate the change between two specific points in time.
    Change what is calculated by dragging the range slider handles across the timeline at the top to select any length of time. This allows you to quickly exclude projections, or historic values.

  • Find the places that have changed the most and the least.
    You can sort the new Trends table by region name, direction of the change, measured change, or relative change.

  • Dig into an interesting trend or anomaly.
    Click on any region name to view a more detailed representation of the trend you see.

  • Export what you find.
    You can export the table of trends as a PNG or export all of the trend data as a CSV for further analysis.

Tables Update

A more detailed discovery experience

The updated Tables view includes an explore experience within the table. This allows users to view more details and context for each selected geography. To access, hover over an individual geography from the Table, click, and a pop-up box will appear with additional information for the selected geography.

January 2023

Time Elements

Data Selection Options

We've made it easier to select data in the drop-down selection menu. Now, time elements in Seek are grouped together chronologically to make data selection a breeze. There's also a notation behind each data set, so you can choose from historical, current, or projection data.

Call Out Visualizations

Sleeker than ever

We also made a few improvements to the style and performance of Seek, so that it's smoother for end users. In a Community Profile, you'll notice new Chart-like call out visualizations.

Layer Upload Improvements

Properly coding Chart layers

We've made some adjustments to layer uploads in Chart for layers that are not properly coded. These changes will ensure that a user clearly understands whether or not the layer is accepted by the Chart application and why.

Legend Alignment in Maps

In Maps, we noticed an issue with the legend alignment for map components. That's been fixed so everything is neatly spaced and organized.

📈 Remain up-to-date with the latest community data available.

This year so far, we've updated data from the CDC and US Census. Recent updates include:

  • Updating County Subdivision, Place, Unified School District and ZIP Code geographies

  • Adding drug overdose death rates

Logged-in? Get hands-on with our last Data Summary tour.

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