On-page display that have key performance indicators in real-time is called as an Information Dashboard. To make it easy to read, a modern dashboard often contains graphics like table & charts.
When it is designed well, it will help you to see critical data or information as well as data patterns quickly.
To design user friendly Dashboards some tips and Techniques are given below.
Display the Information Logically
Advantage taken by good dashboard design is Natural Reading pattern of our eyes from left to right. As we know that when we see the webpage we start observing from top-left region og the page as we read content of the screen from left to right.
Main strategy is to keep highest priority data at the top-left region whereas keep lowest priority data at the bottom region of the dashboard.
Let’s look at the dashboard below, a case where content wasn’t arranged in a logical fashion:
The information in the, "Top 10 Customers by YTD Revenue" and "Number of Users by Age Group", doesn’t change frequently in two upper charts.
The most frequently-updating information, "Signups per month" and "Daily Metrics", are keep at the lower region of the dashboard, a location that’s not good for the charts.
In the above condition we see that, every day the user accesses the dashboard, they will need to go through the first two charts that don’t change frequently before they get to information that changes on a regular basis.
Group Related Information Together
Grouping related information helps users understand and discover connections within them. In the same token, positioning connected information far apart can cause confusion and make it harder to holistically evaluate them.
Consider the following dashboard:
In the dashboard shown above, you can see an implied grouping of charts based on color scheme and positioning:
• The first row shows overall sales metrics
• The second row shows product sales metrics
• The third row shows regional sales metrics
As you can see, smart use of color and positioning helps users understand and compare related information easily.
When components on a dashboard look similar, people tend to see them as being related. We must be aware that this can be a double-edged sword because similar-looking dashboard components might unintentionally suggest relationships that don’t actually exist in the data.
Let’s look at the dashboard below:
The sameness of colors suggests there’s a shared meaning among the dashboard components. The two colors (blue and red) do in fact share the same meaning in three of the charts — blue represents the Americas and red represents Europe — but this meaning does not hold up in the fourth chart, where blue represents "Quarterly Growth" and red represents "Annual Growth".
Use Colors Sparingly and Strategically
Dashboard should keep as simple as possible visually because it is packed with information. Using too many colors can result in a lot of visual noise.
Colors can be used to highlight key information and to show information relationships, as we have already seen. By using too many colors, their effectiveness in helping users understand the contents of the dashboard will be reduced.
Also, some colors immediately demand our attention, while others are less eye-catching. When a color makes a particular dashboard component stand out from other components, we naturally pay attention to that component and subconsciously attempt to assign a meaning as to why it’s different from the rest.
Highlight Important Information
You should be able to look at a dashboard and have your eyes immediately be drawn to the most critical information on the page. Visual techniques can be used to achieve this. Color is powerful in highlighting important information. For instance, if we use light and neutral colors for most parts of dashboard, we could make specific sections stand out by using dark or saturated colors.
When looking at the following dashboard, take note of where your eyes first naturally go to:
Perhaps your eyes were drawn to the line graph at the top-left region of the dashboard, or pie chart at the bottom-right region because they were colorful.
Numbers, tables and charts are incomplete unless you mention the context in which they are measured. The right context for key performance indicators helps us understand their meaning. Descriptive chart titles, for example, help us understand what we are looking at as well as what we need to look for.
Choose the Right Type of Information Graphics
One of the most common design mistakes that happens when presenting information in visual form is the chart type used isn’t appropriate or isn’t the most effective. Making an error in chart type selection will convey the wrong message. It might lead to confusion and false assumptions about the information being shown.
To help you to choose right information Handy Diagram is given below:
Allocate Screen Space to Information Based on Importance
The size of a dashboard component is a naturally strong indicator of its importance. Pieces of information are not all of equal importance, so they shouldn’t be allocated the same screen space.
If a particular section of information is relatively less important than others, try to give it less space.
When designed well, information dashboards can serve as an indispensable tool for gauging performance and making decisions whereas poorly designed dashboard can lead to confusion, wasted time and inaccurate data interpretation.