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The 5 Biggest Pitfalls of Dashboard Design

Design BI Dashboards That Work

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bi-dashboard-design-mistakesDoes the thought of using your company’s dashboard stress you out? Hey—we get it, we’ve seen some pretty bad ones in our day. Although I’m sure their intention was good, bad dashboard design makes your job harder. Seriously, who likes staring at a screen of cluttered information that shouldn’t be there in the first place? We don’t. Below are five dashboard design pitfalls we come across over and over again.

Take a peek—do they make your list?

1. Displaying too much information

It’s time to cut out the clutter. When you display irrelevant information you force the viewer to process data he/she doesn’t need to complete the task at hand. Every element displayed in your dashboard should have a direct meaning and message. Remember; the point of the dashboard is to provide at-a-glance understanding of KPIs. While users might need to drill to further detail to understand the underlying cause behind a pattern or trend, a dashboard should focus on quickly drawing attention and showing the need to act.

2. Arranging the data poorly

When designing a dashboard, each piece should fit together like a puzzle so viewers can see the whole picture. If a dashboard isn’t organized with proper placement of information based on importance, along with visual design that separates data into meaningful groups, the result is a cluttered mess. The goal isn’t to make the dashboard just look good; it needs to tell a story. The most important data should be prominent. Data that requires immediate attention needs to stand out, and data that should be compared must be arranged and visually designed to encourage evaluation.

3. Misusing color

When designing a dashboard, don’t use the whole box of color crayons. Color choices must be made thoughtfully as they can be used in powerful ways to highlight data, encode data, or create a relationship between individual items on a dashboard. When any color appears as a contrast to the norm, our eyes pay attention and our brains attempt to assign meaning to that difference.

4. Including irrelevant information

Too many dashboards try to squeeze in way too much information, without any logic behind it. Dashboards must convey current, meaningful and actionable information at a glance. Users should be able to look at a dashboard and have their eyes immediately drawn to the information that is most important.

5. Visualizations aren't clear

While it may be tempting to showcase a wide variety of chart types within a dashboard simply to keep users entertained, unnecessary visualizations aren’t recommended. After all, your primary aim is to deliver the right information to the right people in the most easily digestible format possible. By selecting and creating visualizations that effectively communicate the importance of the figures displayed, users can make smarter, faster decisions.

If you’ve fallen victim to any of the above dashboard disasters, don’t sweat it! Our team of skilled artists work wonders when it comes to designing effective dashboards. You’d swear they know magic.