Tips on Designing a Dashboard
Updated: Nov 16, 2018
When designing a dashboard or other type of performance tracker, we would like to share three basic tips with you, which we have found to be very useful throughout our work.
1. Make it easy to understand
We are big fans of making everything minimalistic. What we mean by that is not to overcrowd the files with graphics and data. It does not only look bad, but it makes it very hard for the viewers to understand what is being shown without many additional clarifications. A good dashboard is one that can be understood straight away by someone who is outside of your team or even company! Our KPI Scorecard is a very good example for that. All of the added data is averaged up to a single number, showing the performance score for the whole month, regardless of the number of KPIs, their format or targets. From there, the user can drill down to find additional information if needed. This may be an extreme example; however, the possibility to display complex performance processes in such an easy and comprehensible way is very valuable and will definitely impress your stakeholders.
2. Make it functional
Of course, the primary need of a dashboard is to be functional and provide clear information on the state of all processes. Providing different graphics for the same data is not just for show. Different visualizations have different purposes and allow to see and analyze the same data in a different way, thus showing a full picture of the current state of the metrics. They should be backed up by solid mechanics that do not misrepresent information and show true data.
3. Make it easy to use
If you follow the first two tips, you will definitely have a pretty nice dashboard. However, many developers forget about one thing – these files are created once, but have to be updated on a regular basis. This is where our third tip comes in. You should make sure when designing and developing your dashboard that it is easy to update when metrics are added, changed or removed and when information for the new period is added in. It can be very frustrating when you have to spend hours of updating the file the following month. You can even forget some of the technical details and have to figure them out again. And if someone else is to update your file, then it can become a nightmare. This is why you should try and design everything in such a way, that new data can be added, changed and removed with minimal efforts. This is what we have done with our own Excel Templates. Since we cannot know what metrics our clients are going to add, we made sure that the file is as flexible as possible and as easy to update as it can be. Just add the new data, expand few tables and everything else is ready.