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So, you are ready to build a dashboard for your audience. How are you going to make it relevant that they start using it immediately? How are you going to make it actionable that they start wondering how they managed without one?

We have brought the key concepts towards a successful dashboard in this dashboard planner for you.

Plan

1. Jot down your goals

What is the goal you are trying to achieve using the dashboard? Think about yourself and your team. Is it for your agents to view their targets and indicators to know how many more to go? Is it for your HR to view the leaves, timesheets, etc? or Is it for your management team viewing the performance over a detailed meeting? Make it official by writing down.

2. List your audience

The dashboards are specific to an audience and can’t be used interchangeably. Find out whom you are trying to reach with the dashboard and their expertise with the subject, data and technology. Taking time to consult with your users about their needs and preferences goes a long way towards successful usage.

3. Consider channels of engagement

Take a survey on your users’ favourite channel of viewing and build your dashboard for that channel to engage most successfully. If your users are present in the desktop, building your dashboard for mobile devices makes no sense. If your audience is using a wide range of devices, build a dashboard which can size automatically according to the device.

Design

1. Give the wand to the user

Though your dashboard can answer many questions of the users, leave room for situation-specific interactive exploration. Give them the power to use filters, line-up side by side, highlight, search or edit titles, thus turning it in to a powerful tool as the situation demands.

2. Limit the colours & views

If you add too many views in your dashboard out of excitement, your audience might not be able to make out the big picture. Stick to the views which would be of value to the user. It is a good idea to show the prototype to the user and find out if it is relevant to the him/her. Similarly a rainbow of colours is good for an art piece but would be a visual overload in analyzing data. Colours used correctly can enhance analysis. Be mindful of colour-blind audience. Though the percentage of such people will be less, small adjustments like these help increased usage of the dashboard.

3. No Clutter

Always take a step back and view the dashboard as a first time user. Avoid unnecessary title, axis, labels or data. Every element in it should have a purpose and place. Too many elements confuse the user and tends to hide the most relevant analysis from view.

Action

1. Tell a coherent story

Your dashboard tells a story to a particular audience. Reinforce the same with simple tips such as

  • The top left corner is the most viewed corner, hence use the space for the most important data
  • Don’t be overly ambitious and try to answer every possible query that can come up
  • Keep the scope of your dashboard tight
  • Use labels, titles and legends which makes sense to the audience
  • Use metrics which are relevant to your audience

2. Speed it up

The most useful dashboards will be unusable if the audience have to wait long to get their answers. Avoid functionalities which are a drag on the speed. Make it simple, easy and fast. Take time to familiarize with the data you are working with and find the fastest way to convert it in to the presentable format. Get only the data you need instead of loading all. Resist the temptation to adding elements which can reduce the speed, however flashy it may be.

3. Test it

Test, Test and Test to ensure correctness and accuracy of information shown. Every title, legend and labels should be properly oriented and there should be an overall consistency. Successful dashboard is a continual effort. Constant feedback from your audience and measures to address the issues take time and effort but is worthwhile.

Your dashboard coming-up is just the beginning, making it usable is progress but working together with your audience to keep it relevant and up-to-date is success.

 

Vijith Sivadasan

Written By Vijith Sivadasan

An enterprising visionary and a serial entrepreneur, Vijith is driven by instinct in his pursuit for creative excellence. Passionate about transformational marketing strategies, he enunciates the critical need of analytic skills to maximize business potential. To know more on how he can add value to your business, drop him a line at vijith@codelattice.com

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