4 Principles of Dashboard Design

4 Principles of Dashboard DesignThanachart RitbumroongBlockedUnblockFollowFollowingJul 8It seems to be an easy task when it comes to design a dashboard.

Typically, it will begin with importing data into a visualization tool.

Then, fancy charts and graphs will be picked to see whether they fit with the data.

After minutes of trial and error, we wish that we would get insights from randomly graph picking.

No, you will not get that insight you want.

From what I have observed, you will end up getting nothing from your dashboard if you do not know what to visualize.

It means that you need to extract insights from your data first.

Building a dashboard is the last stage of data analysis.

Like aforementioned, building a good dashboard is a process of throwing data into a visualization tool and hope that the magic will appear.

Here is my framework for building a good dashboard.

1) UsersFirst, you need to understand who your users are.

To get to the bottom of understanding the real need of users, we will apply the concept of design thinking.

The key concept of design thinking is to understand need and insights of users.

Design thinking encourages us to go beyond what users need into why users need it.

We need to get into user insight or the “why” question.

So, why do users need dashboards?My answer to this is they want to use dashboards to perform a certain action; for instance, to make a decision, to monitor business performance, and so on.

Your job is to understand how users will use a dashboard.

Once you really understand them, you will know better what should be displayed on the dashboard.

Icons made by Freepik from www.


com is licensed by Creative Commons BY 3.

02) ContentYou need to determine what measures and dimensions best supporting your users.

Measures and dimensions are content we wish to display for your users to spot a problem, identify a cause of a problem, and take actions to solve a problem.

Measures are key figures that you want to analyze.

Dimensions are categorical fields that you use to break down measures into smaller details.

Measures should be chosen to ease users in processing information.

I found a lots of dashboards requiring users to calculate percentage of total, ratio, or grand total.

If users obviously need this information, it should be presented on a dashboard.

3) PresentationWith all important measures and dimensions clearly defined, choosing the right types of graphs is crucial.

From what I observed, graphs are chosen based on familiarity.

Graphs should be selected based on types of data.

For example, a line graph is good for presenting time-series data.

Pie charts are considered to be ineffective in visualizing differences especially when the difference is marginal.

In addition, a pie chart should not have more than 5 slices since .

It will be difficult to read and understand.

4) NavigationLastly, combining graphs and charts together to create a dashboard concerns places and positioning.

Graphs with the same set of data or similar topics should be placed together.

Dashboards should not require users to jump back and forth from graphs to graphs.

Moreover, graphs should be positioned based on their visual hierarchy.

Graphs displaying overview data should have a position at the top.

Details are normally presented in the area below.

Good navigation will allow users to construct a story from graphs provided in a dashboard.

This principle provides major components serving as a foundation of dashboard design with the aim to help getting dashboards to the real action.

It emphasizes the need to understand the entire process of developing dashboard from understanding real users’ needs using user empathizing techniques to choosing and placing graphs with the right combination.


. More details

Leave a Reply