How to Design Best-in-Class Dashboards

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How to Design Best-in-Class Dashboards

Transcript Of How to Design Best-in-Class Dashboards

How to Design Best-in-Class Dashboards:
Four Must-See Examples

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Elevate your dashboard game
Dashboards are essential to modern business—but they don’t all perform at the same level. Across industries and organizations, needs vary wildly. There’s no one right way to design a dashboard, but implementing a set of time-tested strategic principles can help you tell a compelling story about your business that helps you progress toward your goals.

How to Design Best-in-Class Dashboards: Four Must-See Examples

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Better dashboards have big benefits
When you invest the time to create dashboards that are visually exciting and relevant, it helps everyone in the business.

GET MORE VALUE FROM YOUR DATA
If your organization is like most, it has mounds of unorganized data. Visual dashboards provide a navigable structure and help ensure that the right people in your organization understand what the data means for them.

ENGAGE THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Want to get executive buy-in on a particular project? Identify a new area of business based on trends? Easily spot problem areas? A dashboard can help you rally key stakeholders across the business and respond quickly to ever-changing needs.

CREATE A DATA-DRIVEN CULTURE
Sharing a dashboard across business units can help create a culture of discovery and innovation, and enable employees at every level to drive competitive edge. When you have trustworthy and organized data, you can rely on it to make smarter, faster decisions.

How to Design Best-in-Class Dashboards: Four Must-See Examples

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What to know before you start
When creating a dashboard, you'll want to be clear about your audience, what they want, and how they’re going to use the information presented to them.

UNDERSTAND THE ROLE OF YOUR AUDIENCE
Knowing who your dashboard is for— a generalist, an analyst, a business manager, or an executive—will help you design it effectively. For instance, an executive audience wants to know if KPIs are being met, and gather key takeaways. Whereas a salesperson with little technical or subject matter expertise might need a simplified display that provides key customer insights or shows sales figures over time.

FIND OUT HOW YOUR DASHBOARD WILL BE USED
In what context will your audience view the dashboard? A busy supervisor with 15 seconds to spare has different needs than a team that needs to dive deeper into quarterly numbers. Either way, it’s crucial to understand the situation. Your goal is to deliver accurate information that doesn’t cause unnecessary frustration or require outside intervention.

PROVIDE SIMPLE, CONSUMABLE INSIGHTS
People are busier than ever, so you want to provide information they can quickly understand. Pay attention to the order of your content; put the high-priority items first. Use color and font size to draw attention to things you want your audiences to remember. Put the less relevant or lower-priority items near the end. If possible, provide takeaways or summaries.

How to Design Best-in-Class Dashboards: Four Must-See Examples

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Dashboard design principles
Designing a dashboard is about more than just making something look nice—it’s about using data to tell a story that helps your audience get what they need. Any data-driven dashboard must follow a few key design principles that add clarity and signal intent.

SUBMIT

CANCEL

Affordance. Implement visual cues that indicate when an element links out to another page, shows whether a button is active or inactive, or provides contextual information.

Color accessibility or contrast. Some people have a limited range of color vision, so it’s important to incorporate shapes and contrast to ensure that everyone can access the information they need.

Information hierarchy. Show data in the order of importance, so users won’t miss what matters most. “F-scanning” is a common way people consume information—essentially, they scan horizontally across the page, and then down. Understanding more about this and other common scanning patterns can help you put what’s most relevant first.
How to Design Best-in-Class Dashboards: Four Must-See Examples

Simplicity. A cluttered dashboard might show a lot of information—but it’s useless if those looking at it can’t understand what they’re looking at. Less is more, so avoid confusing 3-D graphics or cramming too much on a page.
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4 types of top-performing dashboards
Every dashboard is unique—but many fall into one of four categories, based on their intended purpose and audience. Each one has a different focus that allows you to tell a story more effectively, and highlight the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that matter to your business.

1. Executive

2. Operational

3. Tactical

4. Analytical

How to Design Best-in-Class Dashboards: Four Must-See Examples

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1 The Executive Dashboard
An executive dashboard is a reporting tool for monitoring longterm company strategy by examining critical success factors. These dashboards are usually complex in their creation, and are mainly used by senior-level management. They’re also a key way for companies to track KPIs against their goals over time.

How to Design Best-in-Class Dashboards: Four Must-See Examples

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CASE STUDY
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay (UHMB)
A hospital group that serves a large geographic area in Northwest England, UHMB uses data-driven insights to support desire for better systems. Dashboards give its teams a clear picture of important data, such as the flow of patients into and out of emergency rooms, and drive better decisionmaking. Executive dashboards allow them to:
Capture and maintain executive focus. Demonstrate progress on key goals and objectives, such as reducing hospital length of stay and improving clinical and operational experiences.
Adapt quickly to changing needs. A view of the most current data helps leaders anticipate pressures and develop the most effective approach to each day.
Learn and optimize to meet strategic goals. Highlight KPIs that affect management, patient experience, and staff dynamics.

Pro Tip: Stick to the 80/20 rule. Don’t try to account for everything. Focus on the 20% that’s most important and strategic—which will account for 80% of the value.

How to Design Best-in-Class Dashboards: Four Must-See Examples

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A closer look
Executive Dashboard Example: UHMB
How to Design Best-in-Class Dashboards: Four Must-See Examples

High-level KPIs give executives a big-picture view of critical success factors.
Predictions indicate whether key indicators are performing better or worse than expected. Time-based trends provide a view of overall activity, and can be shared with higher-level management as needed.
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2 The Operational Dashboard
Operational dashboards are one of the most common types of dashboard. They’re used to monitor the current condition and present information in a simple, easy-to-view format that everyone can understand. These dashboards aren’t designed for interactivity or to demonstrate progress toward a goal, but rather to provide a snapshot of the way things are now.

How to Design Best-in-Class Dashboards: Four Must-See Examples

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