Any business looking to adopt a data-based approach towards understanding their competitive edge needs a data-driven dashboard. But designing a data-driven dashboard can be a challenge at times.
There are hundreds of ways in which you can represent a data set. It can be a tabular form or pie chart or detailed graphs. Data visualization can be done in multiple ways. This is the same reason that makes way for clumsy dashboard designs. It is more like a kid in the candy store; the designer being the kid. In a bid to try the hand at multiple ways of visualizing data, they end up creating crude and complicated designs. In short, the whole objective of designing a data-driven dashboard gets lost somewhere in the intricate 'art.'
What is a Data-driven dashboard?
"Dashboards are not an appropriate venue for artistic impression"
~ Stephen Few,
author of Information dashboard Design
Stephen Few lays down the primary purpose of a data-driven dashboard. These dashboards are more like an information management tool. They track, monitor, analyse and display the key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics. These KPIs and metrics represent the business health, simultaneously tracking your multiple data sources to provide a central location for your business to monitor and analyse.
Usually, business dashboards are of three types:
Why a business needs a data-driven dashboard?
Your business thrives on data. Whether you want to know about your competitive position or understand what caused your lead generation to go downhill- you need data; data that can indicate your performance metrics. Of Course you cannot scout for data every single time you want to know your performance quotient. That's where data-driven dashboards come in.
A compactly designed dashboard that gives you all the information you need in one place.
Businesses need simple, easy to read dashboards. Business dashboards need designs that are simple, clean and easy to navigate. For instance, compare this. You want to display the annual revenue for a business. Which one would a CEO prefer - $1,35,765.89? Or $1.35m? Obviously the latter. It is easier to read, understand and looks neat too.
Designing business dashboards can be challenging if you are not adhering to few simple UI/UX rules. We call it the 'golden rules' of designing. But, first things first.
Designing a Business Dashboard - UI/UX Principles
Multiple ways of visualizing data spoil a designer for choices. Again, this is exactly what leads to a good design. But in every case, there are some set UIUX principles that designers follow (rather, must follow).
The primary goal is to make data consumer-friendly.
If one is unable to read data from your visualization, you probably missed out on some simple UI/UX rules, such as -
- Know your users. Your design is not about data; it is about information. If you consider your users first, you will automatically know what type of design will ease the information consumption.
- Maintain consistency. If you are using tabular forms, use that for all the information you are representing. If you are trying multiples structures for each data set, it may become clumsy and inconsistent. Also, flooding the dashboard with data may not be a great idea after all. Let's say, keep it minimal. Your users will either ways drill down into the data.
Using colors that blend properly, design structures that aid your users, and creating easy navigation and orientation lie in the core of UI/UX principles. We follow this by-heart. What about you? Tell us in the comments below.
Few of our Dashboard UX :
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