The importance of data has reached an unimaginable level in recent years. Data is used ubiquitous across industries to understand the market, meet consumer demand, determine preferences, and ultimately make better business decisions.
One of the best ways to take advantage of data is to visualize it using tools like FusionCharts.
Data comes in many different sizes and shapes, and is meaningless without proper analysis. Visualization is the visual presentation of data to extract meaningful information.
This data visualization is often visualized through a dashboard that allows users to interact with data via objects such as tables, data charts, and graphs.
Let’s discuss the top 10 things every dashboard builder should know.
1. How to use dashboards for data-driven decision making
Data analysts, engineers, scientists, and anyone involved in the areas of business intelligence and analytics will have the knowledge, experience, and toolkit to extract useful information from raw data. However, for others, the raw data will be just a jumble of letters and numbers.
An interactive dashboard is one of the most intuitive ways to present data. So let’s say you keep track of all the purchases made by your customers.
You can visualize this data to get information about consumer spending habits, popular products and services, demographics, and more.
This information is presented via an interactive dashboard with properly visualized charts and graphs. You can then present it to managers to help make informed business decisions.
Any user can interact with the data displayed in the dashboard to search, filter, sort the data and get the necessary information.
This ability enables them to gather valuable information that is directly related to business outcomes, such as stocking the most popular products, creating marketing campaigns targeted to a specific demographic, and managing inventory using buying habits.
This information facilitates data-driven decision making from the stakeholder level to day-to-day operations throughout the organization.
2. Understanding the audience
Developers need to understand the audience the dashboard will cater to when creating it. Data points and visualizations will change depending on the audience.
For example, in an e-commerce platform, user purchase data such as IP addresses, device types, and operating systems will be more interesting areas for the technical audience.
Moreover, they should have the ability to query almost all information about purchases from the dashboard.
On the other hand, the most valuable data for a non-technical audience like the marketing department will be the common product information, user demographics, etc.
Thus, dashboards must be created to meet the needs of the specific target audience. It is perfectly acceptable to create multiple dashboards from the same set of data even if they present the same data in different ways or classifications.
3. Avoid graphs that overburden your dashboard
Accessing the dashboard should be easy without waiting for data to be filled in.
The main cause of performance issues is visualizations that overload the dashboard.
If there is an important data set to be queried in the dashboard, this will undoubtedly overload the dashboard and even crash it completely in some cases.
Another consideration is dashboard integration. An overloaded dashboard will lead to performance issues on the integrated software or platform, resulting in a less than optimal user experience.
Whether you use the dashboard as a standalone entity or as an embedded object, you must mitigate these events by splitting the data set into multiple subsets, loading a subset of the data, and then loading other data as needed.
This reduces the initial load of the dashboard and provides a better user experience without any performance issues.
4. Show a clear direction
The goal of the dashboard is to convey some useful information. Therefore, we need to make sure that the data conveys information clearly when designing one.
What is displayed within the dashboard should provide clear guidance to the audience regardless of their use, from simple monitoring tasks to big data visualization.
It can be a simple trend, such as showing the uptime of a group of servers, in a more complex one, such as showing a complete breakdown of network traffic.
This trend helps in scaling up your dashboard needs and eliminating any unnecessary components.
5. Test the dashboard regularly
While most people ignore their dashboards once they are created, it is never a good practice. Data is constantly evolving, and a small change to the underlying data set can cause the dashboard to become unusable.
So the best practice is to test the dashboards regularly.
This test should include checking if the data is correct, whether the performance and all integrations are perfect and working as expected.
Assume that these dashboards are protected by an authentication or authorization mechanism.
In this case, this regular testing should also include access control checks to ensure that the dashboards are available only to authorized individuals.
6. Tell a story using your dashboards
The dashboard should convey useful information regardless of whether the overall message is negative or positive.
It should basically provide a story of how the data arrived at the current state, the current state, and data that is predictive of the future if necessary.
In other words, the dashboard should include past (historical), current and future (predictive) data, telling the audience a story.
This trait is directly related to having a clear direction as it will help with this aspect of storytelling. Make sure the dashboard is telling a story that matches its intended use.
Consider a technical dashboard to monitor traffic; It should tell the story of the network flow.
At the most basic level, this dashboard includes when and where traffic is generated (the source), destinations, and the success or failure of each request or packet, clearly conveying the story of network traffic.
7. Integrate your dashboards into other software tools
A good dashboard should be able to integrate with other software tools. You will also need to include dashboards on different sites.
So a dashboard widget with comprehensive integration options for both front-end and back-end frameworks and tools will enable developers to customize and integrate dashboards.
You should always present the data in a place that is easily accessible to the public.
For example, if they regularly log into a particular platform, you must integrate the dashboard to be a part of it, eliminating the need to access the dashboard separately.
8. Keep track of your data
Since dashboards are not devoid of data, users must ensure that the underlying data is not corrupted and that it remains without major changes.
This quality is related to dashboard testing as data issues are the main cause of inconsistent visualization and other dashboard issues.
Please keep track of the data, including when and where it was created, the transformations that are applied to it, and the final formatted form used to create the dashboard.
A minor change such as modifying the field name can affect the display of data within the dashboard. Also, the entire dashboard will become unusable if any calculations are completed using this field.
Therefore, it is necessary to keep track of all the changes made to the underlying data set and to adjust the dashboards to match the changes in the data.
9. Accommodating the public with special needs
Accessibility is an essential feature of any good dashboard. Some members of your audience will need help understanding the entire dashboard.
Accessibility tools are powered to meet this need by providing features such as easy-to-read screen text, larger tooltips, and keyboard navigation.
Information density plays a role here as well. A dashboard will not provide an optimal user experience if it is tightly packed with accessibility tools.
Therefore, there must be an appropriate balance between information density and accessibility to create an information panel that can be accessed by a wider audience.
10. Keep dashboards clean and easy to read
Always keep the dashboards clean and readable. The dashboard should be obvious at first glance. A quick look should be enough to gain the general idea.
Keep each visual separate, follow a consistent format and color theme, provide appropriate filtering and sorting options, and manage the overall information density.
All of these things contribute to a cleaner and more readable dashboard. However, this does not mean that dashboards cannot be information dense. The clarity and readability of the dashboard is related to its display.
The dashboard can remain clean and readable even with high information density. Many people prefer a more dense dashboard to display all the required information at once if it is properly formatted and configured.
How can I create amazing dashboards with FusionCharts?
Dashboards are an integral part of visualizing and presenting data in a meaningful way to a wider audience.
A properly configured and maintained dashboard can be invaluable in any business process, from monitoring to making data-driven business decisions that can impact the entire organization.
Therefore, choosing a suitable dashboard builder is vital for performing the data analysis process.
Tools like FusionCharts provide all the necessary features for creating dashboards with over 100 charts and 2,000 maps, fully customizable interfaces, accessibility support, and first-party integration with development frameworks.
All of these features lead to a straightforward yet powerful dashboard building experience. So why not try FusionCharts for your next dashboard project? Discover FusionCharts today!