BI dashboards can help users monitor business performance, discover industry trends and identify new opportunities—ultimately resulting in better, data-driven decisions. However, dashboarding is only as good as the dashboard itself.
This is why dashboard design is critical to user adoption. Essentially, a dashboard is how your users visualize and interact with data. It includes data points used for decision-making, such as analytics metrics (i.e., products often sold together) and KPIs, or key performance indicators (i.e., net profit margin or inventory turnover).
What sets a ‘BI dashboard’ apart from a ‘dashboard’ is its ability to present actionable data in a way that informs business decisions, allowing users to edit and even create their own dashboards without any prior knowledge or experience.
For example, users might be using a dashboard to monitor business performance, but with interactive tools, they can drill down deeper into the data to identify weak points in the sales cycle or key success factors of a product launch.
Ultimately, a dashboard design tool needs to be user-friendly—after all, if users find it too complicated, it won’t become part of their everyday workflows. And your organization won’t get the full benefits of real-time data analysis.
To help drive user adoption and reap the benefits of business intelligence, here are 6 best practices to keep in mind with dashboard design:
1. Look for a web-based tool: With a web-based BI dashboard, users can log in to a web portal to view their dashboard(s), whether on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone — which is even more critical with the rise of remote and hybrid workforces. Look for a dashboard design tool that provides the same user experience across devices. For example, a dashboard should be just as easy to view on a desktop as on a mobile phone.
2. Make it accessible to all users: With self-service BI, employees can explore the data and even create their own dashboards. A dashboard design tool should be simple enough that it’s accessible to users who aren’t tech-savvy—yet still powerful enough to slice and dice the data for meaningful insights.
3. Make sure it’s highly interactive: Users should be able to easily filter the visualization components on the dashboard to interact with data, regardless of their technical skills. For example, the Wyn Enterprise Dashboard Designer allows users to create interactive dashboards by connecting to a data source, setting up the UI, previewing, and then exporting the dashboard.
4. Keep it simple: A dashboard should have a simple, clean layout with a user-friendly, intuitive UI. If it’s overly complicated with a laundry-list of features, less tech-savvy users may not adopt it in their everyday workflows. Choose common graphical elements that users are already familiar with, such as bar, pie, doughnut, line, tree, and radar charts. In other words: The simpler the tool, the more likely it will get used by non-technical end users.
5. Avoid too many bells and whistles. Graphs and charts make it easy to visualize data—more so than rows upon rows of text. But avoid a cluttered dashboard design with too many shapes, colors, and text. Visualizations shouldn’t be overly complicated; it’s best to avoid too many colors (as a rule, stick to no more than three) and avoid ‘cute’ or ‘pretty’ elements that don’t add to the data.
6. Consider your technical requirements: Make sure the dashboard design tool you choose can support the organization’s technical requirements (and budget). And look for specific data connectors (such as MySQL or MongoDB), multi-tenant deployment support, or a customizable UI to support the organization as it grows and evolves.
Data is complex; there’s lots of it, it’s constantly growing, and it’s always changing. The challenge is taking this complexity and creating a dashboard with a simple user interface and user experience. Dashboards should do more than just display data; they should allow users to intuitively interact with that data and easily visualize metrics and trends to make better, data-driven decisions.
Choose a dashboard design tool that will suit all of your users. It should allow them to customize dashboards according to their needs; after all, some users will be more tech-savvy than others. The right design will help to increase user adoption—and get the most out of your investment in business intelligence.
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