Using graphic design principles to design user-friendly corporate dashboards
Dashboards serve as tools for business analysts, providing a concise view of essential data and key performance indicators for efficient monitoring and evaluation of business performance. Given the absence of a dedicated user interface/user experience design team in our organization, technology analysts within the IT department take on the responsibility of creating these dashboards. However, their emphasis on backend data models over frontend interfaces has resulted in poorly designed dashboards, causing confusion among analysts.
To bridge this gap, I collaborated closely with analysts to comprehend their objectives and challenges. Working alongside data engineers, I facilitated the development of data models that seamlessly sourced and automatically updated data. Employing design principles, I crafted dashboards that are not only intuitive but also informative, addressing the issues associated with the initial confusion among analysts.
Considering User Needs
choosing the right graphic
Data is classified into nine broad categories: chronology, segmentation, magnitude, distribution, geographic, ranking, deviation, correlation, and flux. By picking a certain graph, I am instructing the user on how to examine the information. As a result, before developing any dashboards, I consult with users to understand the questions they are attempting to answer and the decisions they are attempting to make. I use this to choose the appropriate graphs
planning the layout across pages
Every dashboard serves a particular function and audience; hence their layouts differ. However, for each dashboard, I strive to address the same questions: how should a user navigate the dashboard? In what sequence should they see the data? Which visuals interact well with one another? Which image will receive the most attention? What level of information is necessary for the reporting?
To make it easier for the end user to browse without becoming confused, I keep the color, text, and layout similar across the sites. Because not all Power BI users are familiar with the UI, I offer small help hints and legends that are suggested.
receiving feedback and iterating
After developing dashboards, I check in with end users regularly to assess what works and iterate depending on their changing needs.
Maintaining this feedback loop with end users and routinely discussing how dashboards may be enhanced has shown to be effective in establishing trust in the reporting process.