Clearly, having dashboards throughout various levels of the organization provides strategic insights through to operational issues and comparisons. Without dashboards, the process to collect and organize the data and present it in a visually compelling, meaningful way in a timeframe that makes the data useful, is impractical and time-consuming.
The key to a good design
So, we have decided we need a dashboard, now let’s look at some simple pointers to designing one that will keep the users engaged and provide them with the information they need.
Less is definitely more. You don’t need to cram everything onto one screen. Data should be clearly identifiable and relatable to its intended audience. The data needs to be clearly stated and leave no room for interpretation.
Communicates a story. You don’t want the user confused at what they are looking at. Make sure the data displayed tells the user what they need to know and can lead them through the data to answer their analysis questions. Consider what they need to know when planning the display options.
Use the right visualizations. Choosing the right visualization to display the data is essential for quick communication and understanding.
Make the Data Relevant. Make sure the metrics shown are relevant to the user and the level of analysis that they required. Make sure the metrics provide actionable information. There is no need for the executive level to drill down to detailed data so don’t make it an option, whereas if you are looking at day to day operations, you do need that level of detail, but don’t need to be distracted by the consolidated company view. Also, think about how often data needs to be refreshed. Operational dashboards should be refreshed often, but the executive level will be looking more at trends and so they don’t need to refresh as much.
Speed and Display. If data is refreshed in real-time or updated less frequently, you don’t want to be waiting for it to load. Make sure the information is delivered quickly. How will the data be viewed? Consider what type of device the dashboard will be viewed on when designing.