Companies around the world are creating massive amounts of data every day and being able to understand this is more vital than ever! Data is now playing a key role in helping businesses make the right decisions and selecting the correct course of action, from the department store aisle to the boardroom! Understanding your data can help speed up the processes you have in your company and prevent the need for extra man-hours.
Data visualization tools like dashboards help make sense of complicated data sets by cutting out irrelevant information and focussing only on the information necessary to make the right decision.
But wait, there’s a twist! Too many visualizations and data streams can end up doing more harm than good to your company. An analytics dashboard needs to be set up with a delicate touch!
Here are 4 things you’d want to consider while you design your next dashboard:
1 Screen Space Utilization
The best dashboards provide the user the information they need as quickly and easily as possible. Nobody wants to sift through mounds of data every day in search of 1 specific insight.
Imagine fields like manufacturing and production using super complicated dashboards to record daily production numbers! There are multiple moving parts in this process, like stock of raw materials, machine wear and tear and end product finish. Keeping track of all this, adhering to timelines set and making sure all the right information is placed at the top for the leadership teams can get complicated when the dashboard is hard to understand. Instead, a simple dashboard would be enough where all things are presented in a manner easy to understand.
Keep in mind that different parts of the organization will have different analysis needs. So, start by understanding who the audience is for the dashboard, how much space you have and how to best partition it best!
2. Data That Matters Only
Your organization creates millions of data points daily but not every data point is relevant to every task. Before you create a dashboard that has too many data points to understand, it’s important to know what questions the dashboard needs to answer.
Dashboards are meant to provide a bird’s-eye view of the company’s analytics and provide your employees an option to drill down for specific evaluations. This separation can make it easier for everyone to understand the data being presented and reduce the clutter on the screen.
Beagle is one of the best Conversational BI tools you can use for this divide. It integrates into your dashboard and picks up the most relevant, real-time data according to your usage pattern and presents it in a simple, consumable way in the form of Nudges. These Nudges simply provide updates on what is happening on the backend and give you an option to deep dive for a detailed analysis. Critical operations need decisions based on the most recent data. Dashboards and Beagle, when combined, can help you stay ahead of any problem.
3. The 5-second Rule
The main function of a dashboard is to give you a quick answer to the most frequent business questions. A cluttered dashboard with too much information or irrelevant data can make this function harder to achieve and defeat its purpose. It should not take any user more than 5 seconds to understand the data presented on a dashboard.
The dashboard should prioritize quality over quantity and remove all unnecessary elements from the screen. Hierarchies can be formed to store information that is still important but not as immediately relevant! The focus of any dashboard should be on presenting operation-critical information and high-level data visualizations first.
4. The Right Visualizations
Visualizations are the best way to convey information on a dashboard. However, they can only be effective when users can make sense of the context of the information being presented. What you can do is work from the data and find a visualization that will work with the said data, not the other way around.
A common issue faced by most designers is first finding a visualization that they like and then making the data fit into it. Instead, you can work from the data and consider how visualization can better enhance it. For example, the stock availability of a product in stores can be tracked using a bar graph instead of a line or pie chart. The goal of any data visualization on the dashboard is to communicate an idea as quickly and clearly as possible without sacrificing any of the value.
A dashboard allows you to quickly learn where you stand and organize your operations. It is important to consider how to display the right information and bring it to the forefront in the best way possible when creating the dashboard. When your dashboard is developed using the right analytics format and data visualizations, it will be able to provide real-time value and insights to consistently improve your operations.