Building dashboards

You are designing Power BI dashboards for your company. Here are some ideas to keep in mind –

1 – Get feedback from the user(s) of the dashboard.

                It can be so frustrating when you create something that you think is beautiful and provides all the information a person could want, only to get a lackadaisical reaction from the planned user. Or worse, nothing but negative comments. It is important to get feedback AS you are building to have your work used in ways that will benefit the company and you.

2 – Map your Dashboard designs.

                Every visualization should answer a question. A person could put together some graphs, but it won’t tell a story. You want to design dashboards with actionable insights, where the visuals and placement tell a story and lead the user to know what action is needed. Normally, the question is the title (the top) of each visualization. Next, major metrics on top row are answering the question. The middle area should expand the answer. At the bottom (or in separate tabs) are where the actions are needed to solve the question. Layout adds to the story. It is not random.

3 – Personalize dashboards when you can.

                Who are you building a dashboard for? Even if it is for yourself, add touches that make the visualization, titles, and color scheme something that the User is comfortable with. Personalizing it with their favorite color schemes, background, fonts, style of graphs will make your product more enjoyable for the User and therefore more likely to be used.

4 – Gain Inspiration from Others.

                When you are visiting competitors’ sites, industry leaders, and other verticals, if you see elements they have incorporated into their dashboards, feel free to figure out how to add those elements to your design. Remember to always get feedback from your End User that these new design elements are something they would want.

5 – Be careful not to over design.

                So many of the images, gifs, and links we can add to the visualizations of a dashboard are impressive. But remember the purpose of a dashboard is to provide actionable insight for the User. Make your effective dashboard into a work of art. Don’t try to make your work of art into an effective dashboard.

6 – With your design, keep Mobile Power BI in mind

                With the need to access key information 24/7/365, many executives are adding Power BI to their smartphones and tablets. This great access, but as a designer you need to realize that the varying sizes of phones and tablets, portrait and landscape viewing will alter your design. A smart dashboard designer builds their work so it will adapt to format and size differences.

7 – You can use large Fonts for Key Information

                Often executives check their dashboards looking for key numbers (sales data, profit margins, numbers of accidents, product shipped, etc.). While all the additional information is additionally important, the main numbers your User is looking for should be in large fonts, easy to read with the first glance. Don’t bury the lead in the needed content. Shout what needs to be shouted.