By Sakshi Upadhyay

The one defining feature of a well-designed dashboard is that it gets used. A lot. The C-suite eagerly opens it every Monday morning, and ends the week with it on Friday afternoon. Assuming they don’t check it on the weekend! So how do you build a dashboard that is this effective? Here are six tips to get you there. 

1. Know your audience: Before you start designing your dashboard, you must understand your audience – their expectations, comfort level with data, and the data points most important to them. The success of a dashboard is rooted in highlighting the KPIs that are most important to your audience rather than showing off every single, pedantic metric you can think of.

2. Practice simple over clever: Avoid using every single type of available chart just because you can. Simplicity always wins. Use visual elements that are simple to understand and familiar to your audience such as bar charts, cleanly drawn maps, and icons. Ensure that there is enough whitespace between the design elements so the arrangement is neater and easier for the user to digest information.

3. Use a grid like design and group related information together: Group related data points together and arrange the information in a grid like manner. For example, one section could focus on demographic data (e.g., age, gender, income) and another could talk about habits (e.g., shopping location, purchase frequency, share of basket). Grouping related points together also guides the user to read the information in a logical way. It will also work to avoid confusion.

4. Avoid using too many colors: Avoid making your dashboard look like you just played a game of paintball. Focus on using only three colors. And, if you must use more than three, make sure all the colors are easy on the eyes. Stay away from the bright primary colors on the color wheel. Color-theory will guide you to choose colors closer to the centre of the color wheel, colours that are less intense and easier on the eyes.

5. Arrange information like a book: People read information on a dashboard in the same way they read a book. For most of us in North America, that means from top left to bottom right. Place your most important KPIs at the top left followed by data points that have lower importance. This arrangement works best for scorecards where the title and a score are placed at the top left and supporting information is placed directly underneath the title, gradually moving towards the bottom right of the screen.

6. Provide menus and filters for complex datasets: Use dropdown lists and filters to select multiple variables in a complex data set. Rather than creating longer pages and adding multiple tables to incorporate all the information, design your dashboard with lists to allow toggling between the desired KPIs. This will keep the focus on the important data points and make it less overwhelming for the end user. It also avoids a lot of scrolling. As a best practice, always place the filters at the top left of your design.

Dashboards can be an advantageous component of monitoring and tracking brand and company success. If you’d like help designing a dashboard that manages complex data sets via simple interactive dashboards and tools, please get in touch with us!  We’d love to help you unlock growth opportunities and build a stronger brand.