This topic has been covered by numerous authors but it still surprises me how many people still do not follow basic dashboard design principles. Here are some of the arguments that I have heard for not designing dashboards properly.
- Didn’t have enough time
- I am not a graphic designer
- As long as the data is there, I don’t care if it’s pretty
Poor dashboard design defeats the purpose of having a dashboard in the first place. Here are few simple rules that I following during any dashboard design/development
- Readability: Too much data, vertical/horizontal scrolls,
- Context: Reports are meaningless without context
- Location, Location, Location: Know where the most important metrics should be presented
- Performance: Never put a long running report on the dashboard page
If you are in hurry, you can find some more tips on Panorama’s blog here. But if you are someone who does dashboard/reports/data visualization for living, I highly recommend that that you read works of the two prominent experts in the field.
- Action Dashboard (An Alternative to Crappy Dashboards
- Five Rules for High Impact Web Analytics Dashboards
- Rich Data, Poor Data — Designing Dashboards to Inform
- Why Most Dashboards Fail
- Common Pitfalls in Dashboard Design
- With Dashboards, Formatting and Layout Definitely Matter