When following the Oracle Design Guidelines, users will find very detailed information pertaining to dashboard layouts. There are those who may think that the layout of a dashboard is a very straightforward matter, which does not require much thought. However inexperienced dashboard designers who adopt this attitude will often end up with dashboards that appear cluttered or confusing. At best, they may achieve a dashboard that functions but which lacks efficiency and clarity.
Layout is very important when designing any form of visual display. This is especially true when the display is intended to impart information, to educate or to inform. The Oracle Design Guidelines include a number of basic layout examples which should be followed almost universally by dashboard designers. As a golden rule, it is a bad idea to have too many columns and sections in any single dashboard. An example provided by Oracle includes a total of 3 columns and 5 distinct sections. This creates a very cluttered and unattractive dashboard, which would appear to overload a user with information. The optimum layout, as recommended by Oracle, is a single column divided into 3 distinct sections.
Of course each of these three sections must also be laid out according to the requirements of the dashboard designer. While the number of elements in each section can vary, Oracle recommend that no more than three charts or tables be placed in a single section. This helps to reduce clutter and ensures that the dashboard is intelligible and clear. Detailed information on the commands required to create a layout of this kind are provided by Oracle here.