Dashboard has played a very significant role in this digital era. Especially, in the IT sector businesses are more relying on dashboards to get accurate data and better insights. Now, for such important use, everyone looks for the best dashboard, an Admin dashboard that is very true to its design principles.
Here, the principle of dashboard design is refer to the way a dashboard is showing the outputs. The business insights with clean design, better data visualization, lesser complex view, easy-to-use, and many more.
As a result, in this post, we have collected some best dashboard design principles. These design principles will help you to understand how to create good dashboards.
But, before we directly jump on to the principle we’d like to give you our view on what is dashboard and the components included in a good dashboard. So, let’s get started.
What is Dashboard?
Have you ever seen your Car dashboard? The speedometer, RPM, fuel tank, time, etc. It gives a driver very basic and important data on his/her car. In addition, it gives this data in a very simple way that is very easy to understand.
Join Our Small Business Community
Get the latest news, resources and tips to help you and your small business succeed.
This is how an Admin dashboard works. A Dashboard is a user interface that represents the data of any particular to whom it belongs in a very organized and structured way. For instance, they use data visualization for better data representation, and other KPIs or business metrics.
This is the reason, you will see that people are relying more on dashboards instead of using those long reports that are generated monthly and quarterly. In addition, dashboards are more convenient when it comes to analysis compared to reports.
For eg: A beginner can easily analyze the graph and charts in a dashboard and make decisions accordingly.
Components included in a Good Dashboard
Look, every coin has two phases, right? Just creating a dashboard will not solve all your data-related issues. In order to have a good data analysis and representation you need to have a good dashboard. Now, what is a good dashboard?
A good dashboard is a dashboard that has all the required components in it that are required for the purpose it is built. For eg: a dashboard of a college showing the data of faculty’s attendance to students’ login is of no use to them. They must have their data on the dashboard which is required for their purpose.
In addition including those components that give out the best experience to the user and solve problems. There are some important components you will find in major dashboards that include:
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Data Visualization
- Contextual information
- User-friendly interface, and many more…
Dashboard Design Principles
As you have got the overview of the Dashboard and the components included in a good dashboard let’s directly head onto our list of Dashboard Design principles. While going through this post till the end, you will be more clear on how to choose or how to design a perfect and effective dashboard.
Know your audience
Every Dashboard when it is designed has a purpose behind it. It could be a purpose to give solutions, give insights, or to its the KPIs. But to whom? Once you know your type of audience, then the design process becomes very easier.
As per the audiences, you gather information and the type of visualization it may need. For instance, if it is an eCommerce Dashboard that is used by analytics then you can add important metrics like total sales, website stats, transactions, profit, and many more.
For reference, you can check the above React Dashboard Template in which the eCommerce Dashboard contains all the important metrics and data that are required for an eCommerce business. The same Dashboard design principle goes for Analytics and CRM.
Set your KPIs
So basically, KPIs stand for Key Process Indicators – A measurable value that measures the progress of a business or a project using the key indicators. Now while designing a dashboard or selecting it you should first determine your ultimate goals and set your target audience.
Once you are done with this, you will be able to select the best KPI to feature on your dashboard. Furthermore, if the KPIs are set then, you will be able to shape your dashboard design in a very correct manner.
It will displace the visual representations with relevant insights, and correct metrics, covering all the specific areas of the business or project.
Use Correct Data Visualization
In any dashboard, you must have seen different types of graphs, charts, tables, and many other data metrics for better data visualization. But sometimes many designers get carried away by overusing these data visualizations. Therefore, they must be very careful while using this in their dashboard.
Therefore, selecting an appropriate type of data visualization is very important according to its usage. Moreover, it needs to be selected based on the relationship between two or more variables.
For eg. using bar graphs for comparison, composition for breaking data into separate components, and using graphs for representing trends over time, and many more.
Furthermore, the principle of dashboard design is to choose the correct metrics. Instead of clustering them with charts and graphs and making them confusing try using correct visualizations.
Be more Minimal
Sometimes less is more. We have seen many creative dashboards with fascinating UI and sparkling visualization. These types of dashboard designs are not preferable in the long run. Therefore, you will see that experienced designers try to keep the design of the dashboard minimal and clean.
Furthermore, having a minimal design of your dashboard eliminates the distraction and improves the focus of your viewers. While designing a dashboard the principle should be clear to make your dashboard minimal and user-focused with no irrelevant visuals.
For reference, you can have a look at the above dashboard
Select the correct Type of Dashboard
Another dashboard design principle you need to consider is selecting the type of dashboard you need to use or design. Moreover, as mentioned above, you need to be more specific about the user group and design the dashboard accordingly.
These will help the group to analyze the business and make the decision wisely. Generally, while designing a dashboard a designer uses its design principles to identify the type of dashboard based on the key information. There are 5 types of dashboards i.e Strategic, Operational, Analytical, Tactical, and specific.
If you want to monitor and analyze long-term strategies then you should select a strategic dashboard. On the other hand, for a shorter time and operations-based use operational Dashboard. For a large stream of data including competitors, and market trends then use the Analytical dashboard.
For reference, you can see the above example for more information where we have mentioned the type of Dashboards.
Use Interactive elements
Using interactive elements in your dashboard improvise the overall user experience. Now, interactive elements are clickable elements on your website or dashboard. In addition, these elements can be placed on the critical part of your dashboard that helps to grab the user’s attention.
Using the dashboard design principle some of the interactive elements are the interactive graphs and cards, animations, interactive timelines, color effects, and many more.
Moreover, having an interactive dashboard helps the users to analyze and see the data from a different perspective. It gives a clear presentation of the figures enables to have data-driven business decisions.
For reference, you can check the below dashboard example that shows interactive elements like cards, graphs, animations, and many more.
Optimize it for different screens
As per the chore web vitals and SEO purposes, a responsive design can give a big benefit to your SEO strategy. Why? because it improves the usability and flexibility of your website or dashboard. It makes it easier for users to use the dashboard on any screen as per their needs.
Therefore, optimizing your dashboard for different screens and making it responsive is the best dashboard design principle you can follow. Now, the layout you’re seeing on your desktop will not be the same as the layout on the element.
Therefore, the placement of elements needs to take care of differently for different screens. This will improve the user experience for your dashboard. For reference, you can check the responsive dashboard below for different screens.
Avoid common data visualization mistakes
As we have mentioned in the above point of the dashboard design principle of choosing correct data visualization. One more thing that needs to be considered is to avoid some common mistakes while using these in your dashboard.
We have seen many types of dashboards that are just one change away from becoming a perfect dashboard. Due to some mistakes in using these data visualization, they fall into this category. As a result, we have found some pitfalls that are commonly found in a dashboard’s data.
- Inadequate labeling
- Using inappropriate charts
- Clustered and
- Misleading color contrast
- Improper use of 3D graphics, and many more…
Keep it Uniform
When you’re using a dashboard you always expect to have a uniform design. Consistency is a key factor for any design as it helps the users to predict the interfaces without any chaos. In addition, it guides the user to take action naturally and provides them with a pleasant user experience.
The dashboard design principle is to have a uniform design in your labeling, formats, typography, card sizes, buttons, dropdowns, and many more.
For reference, you can check the above example where consistency in the alignment of the text is not maintained. The heading is center aligned whereas the body is left-aligned.
Using Proper Layouts
Along with good dashboard design, with interactive, charts and graphs the layout and formatting of the dashboard also play a vital role. Organizing the elements in your dashboard by using correct layouts will help the users find the information easily.
A general rule of the dashboard is to display the important information first. On the top of the screen and left side corner panel is where you will find the important elements. The reason behind this layout is the majority of users read from left to right and top to bottom.
Furthermore, there are more such practices like a dashboard design principle of showing the big picture first. All the major trends are displayed at a visible glance on the dashboard.
So we have discussed some of the best dashboard design principles that will help you to create a good dashboard. It will help you to create dashboards that are easily organized, well-structured, and easy to understand, with interactive data visualization.
As per the need of your project and requirements, you can consider implementing these design principles in your dashboard. Moreover, it is not possible to use all of them in a single dashboard so use them wisely.
Dashboard has helped many businesses to streamline their decision-making process and saved a lot of money by reducing human errors.
We hope that you like these principles and will share them with your friends and colleagues.