/ How to build a dashboard: Best practices for BI dashboards

How to build a dashboard: Best practices for BI dashboards

BI dashboards have helped companies achieve a better understanding of their data by compiling statistics into charts and graphs in an easy-to-read layout.

However, BI dashboards are not just for data visualization but also for ease of reporting and communicating information. The more organized your dashboard is, the easier it will be to read and understand.

In this article, we will walk step-by-step through best practices to ensure your BI dashboard is clean, concise, and easy on the eyes.



Why build a dashboard?

Dashboards are helpful for organizations as they monitor lead generation, sales, marketing efforts, and more. The best BI tools allow anyone to make a dashboard, whether or not they are familiar with Excel or other data-gathering tools.

Dashboards offer a variety of data points to keep track of, whether it’s sales numbers, website traffic, or lead generation. They help users stay up-to-date with the most current information without having to compile multiple reports or dig through mountains of statistics.

A dashboard helps summarize the data you’re tracking into one cohesive display where you can spot general trends and patterns. Instead of having to look around for information from multiple tools, you can easily access it all in one place.


How do you know what to track?

Every company is different, and with that comes a unique set of data needs. You want to make sure you’re gathering all the right information; otherwise, your dashboard will be full of numbers that may not be helping you in the way they should.

The data you keep track of will depend on your business goals, so the first thing to determine is what business question (or questions) you’re trying to answer. It’s important to focus on the most relevant information to you and what you are trying to achieve with your dashboard.



Best practices for building a dashboard

1. Use clear labels within your charts so you can identify them more easily

One way to make your charts easier to read is by adding clear titles or labels that explain what each section represents.

It’s important not to overwhelm the reader with too many words, but it’s also useful for them to know exactly what they’re looking at.

2. Organize elements by order of importance

Organizing your dashboard elements with the essential information at the top can help guide your user to what’s most relevant. You can also use visual elements such as size, color, and spacing to ensure the most important aspects of your dashboard are being viewed.

3. Stick with simple visualizations so that it’s easier on the eyes

This may go without saying, but having too many visuals will over-stimulate your user and make it almost impossible for them to focus. When you’re building your dashboard, it can be tempting to add in everything because there’s so much room on the page.

5. Give your users room to interact with charts

If you’re working with a BI tool that lets you use live data in your dashboard for real-time updates, consider giving users an interactive chart where they can toggle between views, add and remove filters, and discover new information at their own pace.

Keeping this kind of functionality quick and simple will keep you from overwhelming your viewers.

6. Be aware of where you’re gathering data from

You want to make sure the information on your page is as accurate as possible, which means checking that it’s coming from verified sources.

A common mistake for people building dashboards is gathering their numbers from multiple sources and not realizing there are inconsistencies.

For example, if your website analytics are coming from one tool and your sales numbers are coming from another, it’s likely that they won’t match up.

7. Remember to keep it simple

At the end of the day, dashboards are meant to be an overview; otherwise, there would be no need for them. When users want to more deeply explore the data, they can do so by drilling down into individual reports or data tables.

Data should be presented in a clear and straightforward manner for users to digest it quickly. The more “bells and whistles” you add, the easier it will be for the information to get lost in translation.

Keeping these best practices in mind when building your dashboard can help you avoid common mistakes while making sure all of your data is organized so that it’s easier for your users.




Dashboards can be a powerful way to gather and present information that’s important for your business. By using the tips in this article, you’ll have an easier time building your dashboard, so it will be more effective.

There are a variety of tools that you can use to create your dashboard — from basic spreadsheets to advanced BI platforms.

By creating effective dashboards, you’ll be able to better visualize and share your company’s most critical information. This will enable you to make smarter business decisions, improve how your team shares information, and act on data more quickly than ever before.

Check out some related resources:

What the Right Analytics Platform Can Do for BI Pros

From Basic Eggs to Delicious Frittatas: How A Little Bit of Work Can Make Your Visuals Pop in Domo

Pep Boys CEO Brian Kaner on data-driven decision making with Domo

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