Category Design Tips & Tricks
Best Practices for Dashboard Designing Dashboards are undoubtedly one of the key features of mobile apps that we use daily.

Mobiles have significantly changed the way we live. Whether we are reading the news, paying utility bills, or purchasing goods, most of us are doing it all on mobile devices.

According to a report by Mobile World Live, by next year (2020), on average, people will use 4.3 internet-connected devices on a daily basis, globally

This means that from the UI/UX Web Design Services perspective, the dashboard must be designed to deliver information in an easier and more consumable way. People in the coming days are increasingly going to view their dashboards with non-traditional interfaces.

What Exactly is a Dashboard? 

Dashboards are powerful ways to present crucial data in one place. It uses data visualization techniques to display the most relevant information and actionable data such as key performance indicators in a quick and easy-to-understand format.

The dashboard provides a high-level overview with easy paths for users to increase the level of granularity as and when required.

The dashboard is a key feature in many mobile apps we use daily. You can find them from the photo-sharing app to the business intelligence suite. This article will look at some of the best practices for dashboard design.

Having this information in mind will help you to come up with the most practical dashboard design for your mobile app prototype. 

Importance of Dashboard 

We live in a world surrounded by an overwhelming amount of data. Clear information is one of the most difficult things to access. The more information displayed, the harder it is for users to find what they need. By providing only the most relevant data, the dashboard tries to reduce complexity and brings in the clarity.

Therefore it will be apt to say that a dashboard provides a means to save the users’ time and make them more efficient.

The aim of UI UX Design Services is to design a dashboard that displays only the most relevant subset of information. It will help you to choose the most relevant subset and carefully remove misleading and unclear matrix. 

things to consider in Dashboard Design

Effective dashboard design decisions by a web design service are guided by: 

  • Overall Project Goals
  • The nature of the data
  • Data requirements for a user  

The main objective of any dashboard is to make contact information accessible and easy to digest. Therefore the dashboard interface should be clean and straightforward with an effort made to minimize users' cognitive load and time spent searching for information they need.

The information architecture on the dashboard presents essential data first with provisions to allow access to supporting data or secondary metrics. This kind of progressive drill-down system starts with a general overview and then goes into more detail. It facilitates data prioritization and gives better clarity. 

Key Elements of a Dashboard 

It’s called a dashboard because it's meant to show critical and pertinent data at a glance that is useful, informative and actionable. Dashboard simplifies complex data through visual representation and makes it simple for stakeholders to understand, analyze and obtain key insights.

Here are some key elements of the dashboard: 

  • It should be able to communicate information quickly
  • Should present information clearly and efficiently
  • Should show trends and changes in data over time
  • Information should be easily customizable and immediately accessible
  • All crucial data should be effectively presented within a limited space
  • The data is displayed in the order of priority  or importance (visual hierarchy)
  • The dashboard design should provide a coherent overview with the opportunity to drill down for more
  • The elements such as a chart, table, and forms are displayed in the minimized view with options to view more details in a modal window or on a different page with more details  

Role of Components of Dashboard 

Depending on the intended purpose of the dashboard, the design may vary widely. However, all dashboards are made of cards. Based on the relevance and requirement, each card may contain quick information, notifications, links to the detailed overview, key data, graphs and data tables.

There are a variety of cards for different purposes. So make sure you use the correct type of card to represent each dashboard component. 

Dashboard Best Practices 

Dashboard design is a frequent request to a web development company or to those who provide web design services by businesses of all sizes. But most web design companies must have experienced that with every new dashboard design, comes a new challenge. However, this challenge can be minimized by following best practices for dashboard design. 

Dashboard Design

Here are some of the best practices for the dashboard design that will help you with your next dashboard project. 

1. Know your client’s requirements 

The first step to building a great dashboard starts with knowing your audience. Having an understanding of your client and their requirements will help you gain an understanding of your user persona.

This is important because it helps you to know what users expect from the dashboard you are designing. Start by thinking about the five key takeaways your users would want to see on your dashboard. 

2. Freedom to choose the data 

Building the dashboard with responsive design in mind will allow the target users to decide for themselves which data they want to focus on. Responsive dashboard design is easily understood and allows users to control the data they need and where they want that data to appear on the dashboard.

The importance of data varies from user to user. Responsive dashboard design gives freedom in the hands of users to prioritize data according to their needs. Dashboard with slide interface allows users to focus on the main data window and drill down the data for more information by using the right-hand sidebar.   

3. Key data-driven dashboard 

Dashboards look more informative and effective that leads with a big bold number. This kind of dashboard communicates confidence and decisiveness. A key data-driven dashboard with big, bold numbers is in line with the modern clean design.

The dashboard design has plenty of white spaces with clear, bold takeaway data. This kind of presentation helps the user clearly see what's important and this is exactly what dashboards are supposed to do. 

4. Use information architecture 

Regardless of the kind of project you are working on, you should always consider the principles of information architecture and hierarchy. This will help you to strategically decide the position of the card in the dashboard.

You should also apply the logic to structure the order of elements on your dashboard. Move the most important information towards the top and let the dashboard flow from there. All the information shown in the dashboard is important, however, some cards are more important than the others.

Therefore they should be placed on the dashboard in accordance with their importance so that the most important information is visible instantly. 

5. The simple and minimalistic main view 

Dashboards that use different views to keep things light are more practical and helpful. It helps to keep the main view as simple as possible. The use of filter options in the dashboard significantly improves the usability of the dashboard.

With the help of filters, users can filter data by date or switch between various options while still maintaining a clean and simple look. 

6. Consistent design 

Dashboards are placeholders for crucial data and information. However, this does not imply that they can't look good. There are many color psychology theories about the impact of color on visual information processing.

With prudent use of color and by keeping things light and airy, dashboards can deliver clear visibility, straightforward navigation and look amazing as well. To choose a color for consistent design, you can use online tools such as a Color safe.

To obtain a consistent dashboard design, you can keep the following things in mind: 

  • Keep the design simple: While designing the dashboard, include only the most relevant information with the option for the user to drill down into more complex data.
  • Group according to related or relevant data: If you see a potential where datasets are easier to understand when seen together, find ways to present them in a single card.  However, be mindful that it should not confuse the users.  

How to Determine Goals for Dashboard 

A well-defined set of goals that focuses on problem-solving is a prerequisite for successful dashboard design. Setting clear goals drills down to the fact that you need to have a clear understanding of all the tasks that the user needs to perform.

You also need to be aware of the set of information that will make the user’s job easier and more efficient. When you are determining the goals for a dashboard, you should focus on specific, actionable, realistic, measurable, and time-based objectives.

Here are some questions that you can ask yourself while determining goals for dashboard design:

  • How many steps does a user need to take to achieve a certain goal?
  • Is the dashboard interface intuitive enough for the user to quickly reach their goal without the guidance?
  • What set of information would a user need to successfully achieve their goal? 

To determine the goal of specific dashboard design, you can also brainstorm on problems the design will solve for the user. The answer to these questions will provide insights that will help you decide the matrix, value, visual, and data that will be part of the dashboard.

Dashboard design that is centered on a goal provides solutions to the real problem and serves as a foundation for a great dashboard. The questions above that help you to determine the goals for the dashboard design will also help you gather a better understanding of the business objective.   

Practices for Dashboard Design

When you have a clear understanding of business objectives, you can come up with an excellent dashboard design that conveys the key information that needs to be communicated. 

1. Design that serves multiple personas 

This is probably one of the biggest challenges of a dashboard design to be able to serve multiple personas. Understanding business objectives also provide insight into each user role.

While designing the dashboard, it is critical to understand where the needs of user roles overlap and where they diverge. Effective communication with key stakeholders is important for designing a successful dashboard.

Always keep the end-user in mind while designing dashboards, such as their technical knowledge, their goals, and their familiarity with the overall system and so on and so forth. 

2. Include actionable information 

Effective dashboard design helps businesses to monitor, measure, and act upon data. It is only a means to an end. Dashboards are there to provide the information businesses are looking for.

When you are designing a dashboard, think about end-users, what they want, and how the dashboard will help them in analyzing information and make decisions.

If the dashboard is not helping users take action, then it should be changed until it starts helping users in their actions.

Sometimes a UI/UX Web Design Services provider or designer may get caught up in designing reports to view information rather than act upon. It’s a common scene in many businesses to see dozens or hundreds of reports produced just because they have always been created.

It's important to take care of all those similar things that don't happen on the dashboard. If the dashboard fails to help the stakeholders make informed and timely decisions, it's not worth developing. 

3. Use the right data visualization 

Once you have identified data that is important from the perspective of business objectives and that helps to make informed business decisions, the next step is to effectively present that data.  Picking the right visuals to showcase the data is very important for a well-designed dashboard.

The correct data visualization helps the user understand the story of the entire data set. Once you know the data that needs to be provided to your target audience, you can choose from the below data visualization type that is most suitable: 

  • Tables
  • Line Chart
  • Bar Graphs
  • Scatter Chart
  • Pie Chart
  • Area Chart
  • Spatial Map
  • Gauge Chart  

Here are some of the things that you should keep in mind about choosing the right data visualization for the dashboard design: 

  • Avoid getting into the trap of using a variety of data visualizations just for the aesthetic sense of dashboard design.
  • Don't clutter the chart with excessive information and data labels. Try to limit the information to 3 to 4 key values. a
  • Avoid mixing big and small measures together on the same dashboard. For example, try to avoid using millions in one place and a hundred in the other place.
  • Maintain consistency in naming conventions and data formats.
  • If you are displaying the monetary value in your dashboard, use the same currency throughout the dashboard.
  • A round of large values.  

Final Thoughts 

Any business looking for a dashboard design wants a simple view that presents them with all the crucial information,  shows trends, updates them of all changes, and can identify risky areas for them.

However, a dashboard may not be able to help them with all their request, but it can definitely help them with all crucial information with an easy way to navigate to various areas of the application that requires quick attention.

We hope this article will help you come up with a user-centered, goal-centric design to build a powerful dashboard despite any limitations. Following the best practices for the dashboard design that we have outlined in this article will help you create an outstanding dashboard design that increases productivity for all users.

Sakshi Kaushik

By Sakshi Kaushik LinkedIn Icon

A passionate writer and tech lover, she strives to share her expertise with mobile app developers and fellow tech enthusiasts. During her moments away from the keyboard, she relishes delving into thriller narratives, immersing herself in diverse realms.

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