It would be appropriate to say that an effective dashboard steals the show. Interactive and data-driven dashboards are nowadays an integral part of most web and mobile apps.
For making such accessible dashboards, businesses are making use of innovative dashboard tools. This article covers the best practices for dashboard design.
The word dashboard is borrowed from automobile dashboards. Their purpose remains the same in the digital world as well. The main aim of a dashboard is to provide decision-makers with the identifiable patterns and useful concepts that otherwise go undetected when looking at the raw data.
The first digital dashboards were introduced in the 1970s which were created as part of the decision-support systems. Thus, it could be considered a forerunner of modern BI tools.
In today’s time, major vendors of all BI platforms and analytics tools mostly offer BI dashboards that are immensely popular with clients. SAS, SAP, Tableau, Microsoft, IBM, MicroStrategy, Oracle, and Salesforce are a few popular BI dashboard vendors.
Hence to gain optimal success in designing a dashboard based on strategic thinking and having an eye-catchy appearance, you must be aware of the key dashboard design principles. So, in this blog, let’s explore what are the dashboard design best practices to make state-of-the art dashboards.
8 Dashboard design best practices to employ while designing a Website dashboard
The 8 most crucial dashboard design guidelines have been jotted down for you in this segment of the article.
Understand the audience
It should be always kept in mind that the dashboard is ultimately for the customer’s convenience. Hence, understanding the target audience is the first step towards making a useful dashboard.
It should be understood that the dashboard should serve as the most easily approachable part of the application development that its users visit frequently to understand important things about the business or the tool itself. Hence, the design shouldn’t be too complicated and difficult to interpret.
Additionally, you should have some insights about the audience like from which device they would be accessing it frequently, how frequently they would have the need to go back to it, would they be viewing the dashboards at a glance or interpret them contemplatively, or would they be projecting the dashboard in client meetings.
Ultimately, it is recommended to find out five key takeaways and then implement the F and Z reading structure to the dashboard page.
Last but not the least, another best practice to utilize is clubbing all the metrics on a single page for enhancing customer engagement and ease. It is always great to project the dashboard by thinking from the customer’s viewpoint.
Select essential KPIs
When designing a dashboard, it is always prudent to determine which are the key performance indicators of the business, which when represented on the dashboard will help the customer.
Displaying the metrics of the KPIs visually on the dashboard will ultimately come handy for the users to gain better insight as well as arrive at the right decisions with their help.
Choose the appropriate type of dashboard
While designing dashboards, it is essential to remember that it should fit in all types of screens starting from a PC, tablet, and smartphone or even a big presentation screen.
Each type of dashboard is for a specific type of target audience. Hence here are the four most popular kinds of dashboards that you can choose as per your needs:
Strategic dashboard should be used when long-term company strategies have to be projected in an interpretable form to business leaders and stakeholders.
Such dashboards are used for analysis purposes. They are also used to demonstrate performance versus key performance indicators.
These dashboards are more of a business intelligence tool that helps to track, quantify, and manage operational activities and processes which are relevant over a particular time period. It basically represents the current status of the app.
These are data-centric executive level dashboards that are responsible for projecting important data trends and show the app usage status. Also, these dashboards represent the main hurdles of the business also. Further, these dashboards are created after extensive data drilling.
Tactical dashboards are most useful for mid-management levels. These dashboards are brimming with information. They represent strengths, weaknesses, and trends of various business segments and are mainly used in devising expansion strategies.
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Go with the right chart types for data visualization
Appropriate data visualization and representation largely depends upon the chosen charts and graphs. Here are the following chart types that are meant for different purposes.
These can be used when trends and patterns have to be displayed in a continuously sequential manner.
Pie charts are used to represent the data in a generalized sense and show a comparison between different segments in a size-wise manner.
These charts are considered more useful when comparison between different elements have to be shown under the same category. They are clear, concise, and easy to understand.
For a knowledgeable audience, scatterplot charts can be used to make an interactive representation, although they are not very accurate in terms of quantitative measurement.
These are helpful when plenty of metrics have to be projected in a simple and trend-wise manner.
According to experts, these are not fit for dashboards due lack of precision, clarity, complexity, and user unfamiliarity.
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Select the correct layout For Dashboard Design
Going with the correct layout is a must as a poorly designed layout will disinterest users quickly. When selecting the layout, it should be kept in mind that the information should be organized in an orderly manner with the most essential information placed at the top and progressing to the other representations in a graded manner.
Remain consistent with the design language and colour
Dashboards must be designed with the same colours and font style all throughout to make the navigation simple and to keep the visual appeal of the dashboard high.
You can select up to two or three colours and then play with their gradient shades. It is to be noted that using too intense colours can draw the attention of users towards the colours rather than the information, therefore, it is good to stick to subtle colours and tones.
Focus on making responsive dashboards
An easy way to create a responsive dashboard is to provide user controls to the audience.
This would help the audience to start at the overview and then move to the detailed sections as per their needs and preferences. Providing filters, sorting options, and several other customization features can benefit the customers in a better way.
Nowadays there are many companies available in the market who offer developers for hire which can help in designing or developing an effective dashboard as per your needs.
Making use of information architecture
It is recommended by experts to make use of information architecture to decide the hierarchy of displaying the data. F and Z patterns can be used to make it easy for users to scan the dashboard page easily.
Placing the overview at the top and then moving towards the detailing sections in a gradual manner is the key to making the dashboard interesting and understandable.
Thus, you have gained clarity on what are the dashboard design best practices in order to bring up an effective dashboard for the app users and businesses. A good dashboard can come handy for customers and simplify their lives when dealing with tonnes of data.