Best Practices to Design Impactful Dashboards

The evolution of uses leads to providing more and more key indicators accessible on new channels such as smartphones or tablets, and data visualization  makes it possible to meet this need for graphic representation.

At the same time, the amount of data available within companies is increasing exponentially and they have less and less time available to read it. And here again, data visualization intervenes by making it possible to make a large number of data intelligible thanks to the graphical representation made of it.

To better manage these activities thanks to data visualization , there are key steps to follow in order to succeed in your project . But that’s not all, each step includes several best practices to take into account to make your project a real success and have impactful dashboards.


Frame to properly design dashboards

Good reporting is seen reporting!

Define the objectives

Before starting to build the mockups of your dashboards, it is essential to define what your objectives are in order to frame your needs and correctly design your project.

Who do I want to contact? 

You need to define your target in order to get the right message to the right person. If your dashboards are addressed to members of a business team or to the member of the management committee, the indicators will not be the same. It is advisable to build a dashboard per target.

What story do I want to tell him? 

A dashboard is a single screen with the most important indicators. Your dashboard must be clear and impactful. A graphic = a message! Do not accumulate your graphics, present one idea per screen. The idea is to get to the point and select the indicators that have the most challenges for your business. Your mission is to obtain a global vision of the activity. The creation of several tabs will allow you to deepen your subject and go further in granularity.

What important information does my target want to see right away? 

Your dashboards must present indicators measuring a specific issue. Organizations and professions are all different. The configuration of your dashboards will depend on these factors.

An indicator should always generate potential action from your audience.

For example: a fall in the number of visitors to a website will generate immediate action by a marketing department. The data is operable, it reveals an anomaly. This is how we recognize a good dashboard.

What criteria can my target use? 

Designing a dashboard is an evolutionary process and not set in stone. The aim is for the people to whom you have given the rights to consult the performance indicators at any time. In addition, your projects and your business will evolve and therefore refine their needs in terms of management.

What data do I have?

Before creating your dashboards, you must list the KPI’s you want to present in order to know whether or not the data is available to you.

Advice on the choice of indicators? 

Choosing the wrong indicators means taking a risk of distracting your teams from their objectives and making bad decisions.  Each graph (bar table, pie chart, bar chart, etc.) corresponds to a presentation of specific information. For example, the spider web radar makes it possible to compare several indicators on varying dimensions.

Best practices for choosing graphics:

Here are some examples of charts to create dashboards according to a specific need.

Bar table: compare two or more values ​​in the same category

Maps: to be used if geography is an important factor in the analysis

Line graph: understanding trends and fluctuations in data

Point cloud: measure quantitative data on a daily basis

Sparkilnes: associate a metric that has a current state value tracked over a specific period of time

Camembert: compare less than 4-5 data

Bar chart: compare volumes or flows

Line chart: compare temporal data

Spider web radar: compare several indicators on varying dimensions

And many others…

Co-build the dashboard mockup with all stakeholders

It is essential that the person in charge of the data visualization project within the company understands all the needs of dashboard requesters. Imagine the dashboard mockup with stakeholders will allow you to understand the story they want to tell and thus frame the project. 

Presentation of indicators

Golden rule for the creation of dashboards

When building your  dashboard , you must leave no ambiguity in your formatting. For this, different golden rules must be respected.  

A dashboard must fit on a screen

The message should be visible at a glance, your teams should not scroll the screen.  

One “message” per display

A screen must respond to a business problem. You can create different tabs to address other issues.  

For example: you want to set up dashboards for the HR team.  

Screen 1: Dashboard for workforce management. This will allow you to know the evolution and distribution of employees and to predict recruitment needs. 

Screen 2: Dashboard to manage absenteeism. You will be able to assess the rate and understand the reasons for it. 

Screen 3: Dashboard on compensation management and payroll.  

Choice of representation is essential

1 figure = 1 KPI and a choice of specific graph according to the message to be conveyed

The message must be in the title of the graphic

Limit the number of data, the priority is readability

Pay attention to data simplification

For example, you want to show the dates in your chart but in a simplified way. Remember that the date format is not universal and may change from country to country. A 12.06.2018 will not have the same meaning in France and in the USA.

Choice of themes and colors

The themes and colors of your dashboards and graphics can be personalized and adapted to the company’s graphic charter to facilitate membership and strengthen the message.

You now have all the cards in hand to design your future dashboards. Do you want to deploy a data visualization project within your company?

Quick Report is here to help you!!!

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