Considering that dashboards are user interfaces that can display valuable information and data in real time, it is safe to say that they are rather important. They can be located within a tool, an app or on a website.
At its core, a live dashboard is basically a user interface that can contain various pieces of information including statistics, analytics, schedules, key performance indicators, messages, and so on. They need to visually deliver all of this data in a simple format so that everything can be understood very easily.
If you are planning on building a dashboard that will be used by employees in your startup, then you’ve come to the right place. Today we will outline some of the best practices that can help you create effective live dashboards, so let’s start.
Keep it simple
For most people, when they start creating dashboard designs, they quickly get tempted to try and add as many things as possible to a single dashboard. They simply get the feeling that they could add more things and allow users to do more. However, avoid falling into this trap, as you will end up making something too complicated for everyone.
It’s supposed to be the complete opposite. It should give a simple and clear solution to users. People need to get valuable insights very quickly from the dashboard and go on with their business. Only include the essentials that will be needed by those people who will rely on that dashboard, nothing else.
Given the fact that this is an interactive process, you will have valuable input to improve your dashboard by analyzing its performance. It will take time for you to come up with better solutions and create better versions.
Pro tip: Implementing progressive disclosure designs can help achieve the needed simplicity.
Add essential KPIs
No matter if we are talking about analytics software or some simple app, there are certain KPIs which are always valuable, and it would be good to show them. If you want users to find the dashboard helpful and keep coming back to it, giving them important KPIs is essential.
When placing KPIs, it’s very important that they are the first things that people see when they start going through the dashboard. They should be the focal point in terms of design.
For example, if you are creating a live dashboard for a social media tool, the dashboard should have important KPIs of all social networks that you work on. They should always be displayed so that users can quickly check important metrics and see how well they are performing.
Implement grid layout
When you are adding different objects to your dashboard, it’s important to consider how you present them. Having a grid format is one of the ways you can do this. Simply put, a grid layout can simplify your dashboard and make it more logical.
It can create a reading and navigating order for the whole dashboard. This is how all users will understand it in a better way, know what they have to do next to achieve their goals, and learn how to perform actions through your dashboard.
When using a grid, you can establish a narrative that can lead users to where they want to be. Create a row or column-based flow, whichever you prefer.
We have mentioned iteration above. You should understand that you will not create a perfect dashboard on your first try. Creating one is a process that takes time, and a lot of trials and errors. You need to rely on your users as well to adjust the design.
Let people use it, collaborate with them. Their impressions can lead to a fresh perspective in terms of what kind of solutions you can apply. After your employees have used a certain live dashboard for some tasks, they will understand the weaknesses it has and, through their feedback, you can make it better.
Additionally, startup businesses change very quickly and so do their needs. This means that your dashboards will have to evolve constantly.
Dashboards can be very effective to present data alongside with other types of information. Implement either a goal-centric or a user-centric design to get the most out of your dashboard. Even though each is different, you should establish your goals, analyze your audience, work on simplicity and rely on visualization to present information quickly.