Dashboard is at the heart of your Business Intelligence (BI) project. A good dashboard, developed from the decision-making system, will allow you to drive with the right KPIs by ensuring you a sharp look at the activities. Thus, the more care and precision you make in developing your dashboard, the more you will secure the success of your actions. Getting the ideal dashboard is therefore highly strategic for you as for the entire company.
Following are eight keys for an ideal dashboard for your business:
1. Trust the expert
First advice that may seem obvious but that you must remind: rely on your BI consultant. It is truly their expertise and business experience combined with your demand that will give you the design and the most effective content of a dashboard, challenge it against your business model and your roadmap, and to achieve the result the precise and the finest possible.
2. Define your needs
A dashboard must be tailor-made. To do this, you should begin by defining exactly its specifications. For what purposes do you create it? What are your long-term expectations of this scorecard? What data and processes do you want to “map” out? What internal data is available? Who are the target users of this dashboard? What reporting systems already exist in the company, and why are they not enough? What key indicators do you want to see? On this work of introspection and gathering of needs, your consultant dedicated to the project will be of good advice.
3. Embed all users
Which functions of the company will use this table? And how many will they be? Be careful not to build a silo dashboard. The designers of the dashboard must be able to easily explain the KPIs for their users, and to facilitate this task for other users. In most cases, there is no need to go through a meeting at the top if the users are numerous, the most important being to communicate around your dashboard: collective point, explanatory email, shared document etc., and as much communicative content to embark all the key users.
4. “Too much info kills the info”
If the formula is trivial, it is central. Advocate for the essential and carefully choose your primary indicators. By avoiding overloading, you will highlight important KPIs that will quickly identify problems and actions to take. No question of having a dash with a grid of 400 lines of your sales: less is more; otherwise, drowning is assured.
5. Ban the scroll
It is fashionable in website development, but certainly not in developing a dashboard. This is the easiest way to lose your audience and fail your data storytelling. A dashboard is an overview, and users should be able to read it in several seconds and understand the information. Whether it’s for you or your contacts, you need to be able to monitor the activity in a snap. Just one screen, all the more useful if your interface is compatible on tablet or smartphone.
6. Prioritize information
Make clear the legibility. Studies of eye-tracking have shown how the human eye captures a document and passes, and with a simple mode of reading: from top to bottom, from left to right, stopping more easily on large characters. So, display the largest KPIs in larger format. Place the most important information preferably at the top. Pay attention to the hierarchy: do not have small and large units of measurements on the same scale, avoid cluttering up your graphics with labels, do not mix precision levels and time units.
7. The right Dataviz for the right KPI
Beware of visualizations that are beautiful but without any sense. It is normal to want to aesthetize your scorecard, but it should be borne in mind that a visualization mode should be chosen to best reflect a KPI, always in favour of reading. A heat map, for example, makes it possible to denote in a very visual way for a sales KPI. In terms of logistical deployment, sufficiently detailed maps can be used to quickly identify problem or potential areas with drill capabilities. Conversely, a pie chart view to illustrate the relative share of sales between 15 brands will not work well.
8. Avoid the “rainbow effect”
Graphic designers know this: there are “tastes and colours”. All users will not necessarily have the same aesthetic design for their dashboard, the whole being to propose finally a consensual version and readable by all. To do this, avoid the “rainbow effect”: the mixture of typography, the mix of colours too numerous, too garish or irrelevant that can distort reading or adding unnecessary details … Prefer the drawing, a construction linear and simple. Your company may already have pre-defined templates that it will be more strategic to follow. If not, build a template based on basic graphic rules that can be easily retrieved later.