Dashboards are powerful and extremely useful tools that present critical pieces of business information with the help of simple but effective data visualization tools. Dashboards not just display actionable and relevant data, but these tools also help end users to easily track Key Performance Indicators and other stats.
Dashboards present these data and stats in an easy to scan and quick format that users will be able to understand in a single glance. Dashboards are extremely valuable and informative to businesses because they serve the crucial functions of transforming business data into critical information.
This helps business analysts, managers, and executives to monitor performance that will help businesses to boost productivity and improve overall performance. Dashboards have to be implemented smartly with the best possible Dashboard design practises in order to be effective. Here are some best design practices to follow when designing a new dashboard interface.
Understand User Requirements
The first thing you need to do is to think thoroughly what you are trying to achieve through the dashboard. Ask yourself questions like : What’s the primary goal of your dashboard? How can it help businesses or users? How can the dashboard help users to make better business related decisions or improve productivity.
You will need to do a thorough research if you want to design an effective and useful dashboard. Research will help you to know about what your target audience needs. This will give you a clear idea on what are the important data that you should include within the dashboard.
Select a Dashboard Type
The next step is to decide which type of dashboard you should use. There are multiple types of dashboards available out there. The most common types of dashboards are : operational, tactical, strategic, and analytical.
Operational dashboards help businesses to easily monitor, manage, and measure operations for shorter periods. They mainly focus on tracking operational processes.
Strategic dashboards use critical success factors to monitor the long term success of an organization. These dashboards track performance metrics against the strategic goals of a business.
Tactical dashboards are capable of handling more information which is used by business analysts to track and monitor processes that are performed by the center level management.
Analytical dashboards feature large bits of comprehensive data that will help analysts to compare different trends, make predictions, and easily identify rising trends.
Simple and Minimal Design
According to cognitive psychology, human brains are not capable of handling vast amounts of information at the same time. This is why you shouldn’t go overboard with the design when building a dashboard. Dashboards with plenty of data visualizations and representations may overwhelm users. This is something you should try to avoid.
The primary purpose of designing a business dashboard is to simplify the vast amount of data and help users to easily track KPIs and other important metrics. So, you should try to present these crucial information and ensure that users will be able to understand it in a single glance.
KPI or Key Performance Indicator that will give you an accurate idea on whether the key items are performing well or not. You will be able to tell whether these key items need correction or action to improve their performance. So, it is very important to select the right key performance indicators that can benefit users.
Once you have decided who your target audience is and the ultimate goal of your dashboard, you will be easily able to identify the best KPIs that should feature within the dashboard. This is where doing a thorough research as discussed above can be of great help to you.
Data representation and visualization can be pretty complex, particularly when you include multiple data representations within a dashboard. Using a wrong type of chart can make things confusing for end users and they end up misinterpreting information. So, it is best to do your research on charts and other data representation tools.
There are different types of charts and graphs available and they are suitable only for some specific data representation processes. So, ask yourself questions like how many variables should I display in a single chart and how many data points are needed for different variables. This will help you choose the right charts for your project. You can also learn more about this by using electronic data room providers.
Stick With Relevant Content
Adding huge amounts of content that doesn’t benefit end users in any way will distract them from important information. In fact, it may even make it really hard for them to find the relevant data that they are after.
So, restrict the contents of your dashboard to a minimum and ensure that you are only displaying relevant information. The info you provide in the dashboard should match with the purpose of the dashboard and users should be able to easily understand it.
Context is another crucial factor that can make your dashboard a lot more useful to users. The numerical data and comparison graphs on the dashboard will be meaningless to users if you do not provide any context. So, it is important to provide context to make things easier for users.
You must provide adequate information in the space available to you within the dashboard. Add comparison values, name the charts, and give other essential information throughout the dashboard.
Dashboards that are clean and organized visually will allow users to easily find the information they need. Dashboards with poor or inaccurate layouts will confuse end users. In some cases, they may even have to spend a valuable amount of time to figure out where to find the data that they need.
Most Dashboards usually follow a pattern where crucial information is displayed right on top of the screen or on the upper-left corner of the screen. Some dashboards opt for a layout that allows users to see the major trends right at the top with just a single glance.
Several dashboard designers make the huge mistake of choosing wrong colors when building a dashboard. Using wrong colors will make your dashboard look unprofessional and it may also make things very complicated for users. An important thing to keep in mind is that the use of similar colors may make it harder for users to distinguish from one another.
So, the best solution here is to choose two colors that complement each other very well. It is also best to use less number of colors when it comes to data visualization to avoid confusion.
Font selection and pairing
Most experts advise to stick with just a single font type throughout the dashboards. In addition, the number of font sizes that you use should be restricted to three or less than three. The font you use can be emphasized or highlighted in the content either by adding an accent color or by simply bolding it.
Most dashboard designers highly recommend Serif fonts and Sans-serif fonts. Serif fonts are ideal for body text, as the tail part of the font makes it easier for users to read the content. On the other hand Sans-serif fonts are used for short text blocks mainly because users pay close attention to it.
Dashboard Design Inspiration & Examples
In today’s digitally competitive world, most businesses have to deal with a tremendous amount of data and information to stay on top of their game. So, you will surely need access to a well-designed and excellent dashboard that presents critical data about the KPIs and other metrics. Here are some of the best Dashboard designs to draw inspiration from.
Star Admin 2 Pro
Star Admin 2 pro is a fully-featured modern Bootstrap admin templates with multiple well-designed dashboards. It offers you an option to choose between Analytics, CRM, and Marketing dashboards. The template also contains a beautiful dark-colored dashboard that will leave a lasting impression on users. The components within the dashboards are neatly arranged in rectangular-shaped panels.
Here is a short demo video of Star Admin 2:
Designed based on the Bootstrap framework, Purple admin template features stunning dashboard layouts. In fact, you can find order management, ERP, and Ecommerce dashboards with the template. It is also available to users in dark and light colored versions along with vertical and horizontal dashboard layouts. Purple also has a neat color palette and an elegant design.
The dark and shadowy themed Corona Bootstrap admin template has a visually stunning dashboard with neat and beautiful colors. The dashboard comprises multiple numbers of well-designed components that are arranged in a neat way and elegant way. This will help users to easily find the information that they are looking for in a few seconds.
The feature-rich and modern admin template, JustDo is built with the latest version of Bootstrap. The template has a well-designed dashboard that is available to users in both dark and light colored versions. In addition, horizontal and vertical dashboard layouts and a dashboard design with dark menu can also be seen with JustDo.
Azia Bootstrap admin template offers 10 separate dashboard layouts to users. All these layouts are designed to look elegant, unique, and beautiful. You can find Web Analytics, Sales Monitoring, Event Management, Finance Monitoring, and more dashboard layouts with the template.
Plus is a beautifully designed and extremely lightweight admin template with a professional and clean dashboard. The dashboard is packed with plenty of components, charts, and graphs to help user easily monitor and track different business stats and metrics.
Material Dashboard Pro
Material Dashboard Pro is a beautiful modern admin template that comes with a carefully crafted dashboard. The dashboard makes it a lot simpler for users to easily find what they are after. Comparing different business stats and monitoring growth is also very simple when using Material Dashboard Pro.
Paper Kit Pro
The dashboard of Paper Kit Pro admin template is also neatly designed. The components and other data within the template are arranged properly to avoid any chance of confusion.
Material Able admin template also has multiple types of different dashboard layouts. In fact, you can find Analytics, Project, CRM, and Ecommerce dashboard with the template. The dashboard designs are simple, elegant, and unique, which most users and designers will love.