Dashboard Design: Go Beyond Fancy Designs and Pretty Colors

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Prioritizing Information

Utilizing your dashboard space in the correct manner is crucial to the future success of your company. Typically, you’ll have to display the most important business indicators of your company’s operations. Selecting the most important indicators is one of the most stressful tasks of dashboard design.  For instance, some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) are needed for the entire staff, while other metrics are only important for a specific department.  If possible, you should create separate dashboards for certain departments.

 Companies should know which KPIs are going to be necessary if they’re expanding into new markets or products.  Therefore, certain indicators may have to be relegated to other reporting venues should space become an issue.  Resist the temptation to add scroll bars or tab views to display more information.  That defeats the purpose of a dashboard – a quick glance at the company’s performance.

 Ensuring Clarity

There are numerous tools you can use to help maximize the amount and quality of information that will be displayed on your Dashboard.  First, you should avoid the use of objects that don’t provide information.  Logos, grid lines and chart frames often do not add clarity to the information but instead take up space and divert the user’s attention. Additionally, 3D effects will occupy much more space than their 2D counterparts.  Also, they can actually hide data points much like a building casting a shadow. I’d recommend against using pie charts. 

 Unfortunately,  the human brain isn’t very efficient at noticing the difference in pie slice sizes, especially if they’re only marginally different in size.  Lastly, you shouldn’t allocate  dashboard space to display the same information in multiple locations.  Instead, you should utilize both the drill down and filtering features that will enable users to manipulate the information to meet their personal demands.  

 In today’s age, with all of the tools at our fingertips, people often fall into the trap of demanding too many dashboard elements.  Your dashboard design should be simple and functional, while conveying information in a manner that all users will enjoy.   

 Contact Steve Kane at 301-634-2404 or skane@broadpoint.net to find out how BroadPoint Technologies, with extensive experience implementing Microsoft Dynamics GP and the latest reporting/dashboard solutions,  can get you on the fast track to better, clearer metrics for your organization.

by BroadPiont technologies, Virginia Microsoft Dynamics Partner

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