Are you one of the many people who feel overwhelmed by the amount of data you have to deal with every day? Do you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of numbers and that there’s no way to get your head above water?
You’re not alone. In fact, according to studies, most organizations are struggling to make sense of the vast quantities of data they’ve collected. The good news is that there are ways to overcome this challenge—it just takes a little effort.
BI dashboards exist to help you make informed decisions. But all too often, dashboards are cluttered and don’t provide the information that people need. Here are 10 tips for designing effective BI dashboards.
But before we begin, let’s take a look at what a dashboard is.
What is a BI dashboard?
A business intelligence (BI) dashboard is a visual display of information that is easy to understand. Dashboards are used to give an overview of key metrics and help business leaders make quick, informed decisions.
In other words, it’s a way to see all of the essential data related to your business in one place. And it’s not just for businesses—dashboards can also be used for personal use cases (such as fitness or budgeting).
BI dashboards offer businesses of all sizes a way to make better, more informed decisions. And while they can be complex and overwhelming, they don’t have to be.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 10 tips for designing effective BI dashboards.
1. Keep it simple
The first step to creating an effective dashboard is to keep it simple.
This may seem counterintuitive—after all, the point of a dashboard is to give you all of the information you need in one place. But if your dashboard is too cluttered or complicated, you’ll never be able to find the information you’re looking for.
Think about what information is most important to you and your team, and focus on those metrics. Everything else can be left out.
2. Only include the most important information
Related to tip number one, it’s important to only include the most important information on your dashboard.
There’s no need to try and cram everything onto one screen—that will just make it more difficult to find the information you’re looking for. Instead, focus on the metrics most important to your business and leave the rest off your dashboard.
3. Use visuals to your advantage
One of the best ways to make your dashboard more effective is to use visuals to your advantage.
As humans, we’re more likely to pay attention to information that is presented in a visually appealing way. And when it comes to dashboards, there are a number of different ways you can do this.
Consider using charts, graphs, and other types of visuals to help convey the most important information on your dashboard. This will make it easier for people to understand what they’re looking at and make better, more informed decisions.
4. Make use of dashboard sharing capabilities
Most BI platforms come with some form of dashboard sharing capabilities. And if you’re not taking advantage of these, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity.
Dashboard sharing allows you to share your dashboard with others—whether it’s people within your organization or external stakeholders. This is a great way to get feedback on your dashboard and ensure that it’s meeting the needs of those using it.
When deciding with whom to share your dashboard with, think about who needs access to the information it contains. And be sure to set appropriate permissions so that people can only see the information they’re supposed to.
5. Utilize data filters
Data filters are a great way to make your dashboard more interactive. They allow you to focus on specific sets of data and exclude everything else. This is especially useful if you have a lot of data that you need to sift through.
For example, let’s say you run a website and you want to see how many people visited your site yesterday. You could add a date filter to your dashboard so that only data from yesterday is included. This would make it easier to find the information you’re looking for and make better decisions based on that data.
6. Set up alerts
Another useful dashboard feature is the ability to set up alerts. Alerts can be triggered by a number of different things, such as when a metric surpasses a certain threshold.
When an alert is triggered, you’ll be notified so that you can take action if necessary. This is a great way to stay on top of your business and ensure that you’re always aware of what’s happening.
7. Create multiple dashboards
One dashboard may not be enough to meet all of your needs. In fact, it’s often helpful to create multiple dashboards, each with its own specific purpose.
For example, you might create one dashboard for sales data and another dashboard for marketing data. Or you could create a dashboard for each department in your organization. Having multiple dashboards allows you to tailor the information that’s presented to meet the specific needs of each team or individual.
8. Allow for customization
One of the best things about dashboards is that they’re highly customizable. This means that you can tailor the dashboard to meet the specific needs of your business and the people who are using it.
For example, you can allow users to customize their dashboard view by adding or removing certain elements. Or you could give them the ability to filter the data that’s presented. Allowing for customization makes your dashboard more effective because it ensures that people are only seeing the information that’s relevant to them.
9. Keep it up-to-date
Your dashboard won’t be effective if it’s not kept up-to-date. It’s important to regularly update the dashboard with new data to make sure that all of the information is accurate.
This can be a challenge if you have a lot of data to keep track of. But there are a few things you can do to make it easier. First, automate as much of the dashboard update process as possible. And second, set up alerts (see tip 6) so that you’re notified when new data is available.
10. Make use of dashboard templates
There’s no need to start from scratch when creating your dashboard. There are plenty of dashboard templates available that you can use as a starting point.
Dashboard templates can save you a lot of time and effort. And they can also help ensure that your dashboard is effective from the start. Just be sure to choose a template that’s well-designed and relevant to your specific needs.
What to avoid
When designing your dashboard, there are a few things you should avoid.
Don’t make it too complicated. Keep your dashboard simple and easy to understand. Avoid adding too many features or using complex data visualizations.
Don’t use too much data. Only include the data that’s absolutely necessary. Too much data can be overwhelming and make it challenging to find the information you’re looking for.
Don’t forget about mobile. Make sure your dashboard is responsive so that it can be viewed on mobile devices. Mobile users should be able to access all of the same features and functionality as desktop users.
How to get started with BI dashboards
Now that you know the 10 tips for designing effective BI dashboards, it’s time to put them into practice. Keep in mind that dashboard design is an iterative process. You may not get it perfect on the first try. But with each iteration, you’ll get closer and closer to creating a dashboard that meets all of your needs.
Check out some related resources:
Domo Recognized as an Overall Leader in the 2023 Dresner Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study
Domo Showcases ESG Solution for Gartner BI Analytics Showdown
There’s an App for that—Tips for Crafting Apps, Dashboards, and other Engaging Data Experiences
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