Dashboard Design Fundamentals and Rules

Some simple and straight fundamental rules need to be followed while designing and developing a dashboard.

In order for an executive dashboard to be most effective and useful for the user, its design must meet three fundamental requirements:

  • Clarity
  • Balance
  • Appropriateness of focus (high-level decision-making and strategic visibility)

Clarity
Information on the dashboard charts has to be presented in a clear and unambiguous way. The dashboards are strategic tools that decision makers look at only briefly to find specific, strategic information. Therefore, the information must be presented in a clear and concise way to minimize the user’s search time and avoid misinterpretation and alarmism.

Balance
All the information on the dashboard should be presented equally. One should avoid bright colors and exaggerated proportions to highlight a particular piece of information, as that will quickly result in either an unbalanced presentation. If there is a clear need to highlight an anomaly, do it with taste.

Appropriateness
Information displayed on executive dashboards needs to be geared towards the needs of its intended audience. Dashboards often suffer from information overload. Executive sales dashboards commonly will include unrelated, highly specific information such as the status of corporate networks or mail servers. Such unrelated information decreases the dashboard’s value by reducing its capacity to support strategic decision-making.