The Ultimate 15 Point Checklist to Turn Your Dashboard Into an Insight Machine

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A business dashboard needs to be user-friendly and support the decision-making process. To help you on the journey towards achieving growth with data, we will delve into 15 dashboard design principles to help you develop comprehensive dashboards.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.
Albert Einstein 

 

Before building the Dashboard: what you should know

Dashboards: The Ultimate 15 Point Checklist | Softelligence

 

 

Dashboard design principles are most effective as part of a structured process. Here, we will go over these dashboard design guidelines to help you to start maximizing the potential of your data.

 

 

 

 

Optimize Structure for Effectiveness

 

01
Executive
sponsorship

Dashboard initiatives need the leadership of an executive who understands the business challenges and carries enough authority to make things happen.

02

Relevance for the
right audience
 

 

Understand the intended audience and the scope of their requirements.

03 

Include navigation
to primary dashboard sheets

 

This is where good design principles come into play. The dashboard should be easy to consume.

04

Collaborate to identify
the most important
metrics & KPIs

 

Start with the priority business decisions the team identifies to develop KPIs, and then determine which data will support those decisions to develop relevant metrics.

05 

Group the related metrics logically

 

Grouping related metrics next to each other makes the dashboard more usable and attractive. There are many different ways to group e.g. by metric, product, brand, campaign, region, team or even period. Emphasize the most important data by placing those in the upper left and centre areas of the dashboard.

 

06

Use size and position to show hierarchy

 

 

Dashboards need hierarchy to be easy to scan. Consistent sizes and clear relationships between elements will help create patterns and visual flow. In terms of positioning, start with the top left-hand corner of the dashboard, which is the location where the eyes naturally go to first when reading.

 

07 

Use clear labels that the audience will understand

 

The labels that describe each metric or chart should be self-explanatory and unambiguous for the viewers. Try to keep them as short as possible to avoid cluttering up the design and prevent the labels from getting in the way of the data.

 

08

Roundup
the numbers

 

When displaying numbers, don’t include more precision than is needed.

 

09
Involve end-users in the design process

 

The easiest mistake to make when designing a dashboard is to assume you understand the end-users’ insight needs. If a dashboard does not contain the right information or it is not delivered in the right manner, it will not be used and will not drive any action. If you discuss the users’ requirements upfront and then follow up for feedback, your dashboards are more likely to hit the mark.

 

10
Use proximity for a
consistent pattern

 

An arrangement of individual elements is understood to be more related than things spaced farther apart. This does not mean ignoring the importance of using whitespace, which must not be mistaken for empty space – see the next tip for more details.

 

11
Don’t be afraid of whitespace

 

This refers to the blank area between graphical elements, text, images, and other visuals. Whitespace is a method to organize items in order to guide users’ attention to certain features. It is better to leave a gap than to make something bigger just to fill it.

 

12

Setting up drill-through functionality

 

Using drill-through, the end-users can navigate from visualization in a dashboard or a story to a related report while retaining the original context of the visualization. For example, they can examine revenue by product line within visualization in the dashboard.

 

13

Use Predictive Modelling to
empower decision making

 

Work with a consultant who can help you use the latest innovations in machine learning and data visualization to enable you to visualize the impact of the business activities. Explore the key influencers’ visualization to understand the factors that drive a metric you’re interested in.

 

14
Review content
periodically

 

A periodic review of the dashboard will ensure they continue to remain focused and aligned to the business priorities.

 

15

Continuously
improve your dashboard

 

Once you have built the dashboard, ask for feedback and use it to iterate on your dashboard. Remind yourself what information you are primarily trying to get across and how effectively those important elements stand out.

 

Conclusion

 

Dashboards: The Ultimate 15 Point Checklist | Softelligence

Every dashboard will look different, depending on every unique business goal. The more you understand and anticipate the types of questions you will be asking of your data, the better off you will be able to identify the type of dashboard you need and the individual design features you want to include.

If you are looking for a strategic partner who can help you narrow down your focus, create custom visualizations, automate reporting, and enable your end-users, learn more about our Data and Analytics solutions.

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Watch the video: Executive Dashboard for Insurance in Power BI (2:49 min)

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