UI/UX design, Dashboard

What is an Information Dashboard?

Dashboard — is one of the key app screens displaying the most important performance indicators. The information about the current business situation, possible problems, trends, analysis of the application’s data, reports and other data are displayed here.

Dashboard design is one of the most complicated app parts and a lot of details should be covered in order to create effective information dashboards for Business.

Here are 7 dashboard design principles to create effective dashboard design:

1. Dashboard types

Choose the dashboard type correctly depending on the set purpose. 

There are 3 types of the dashboard and they are:

1. Operational Dashboards
2. Analytical Dashboards
3. Strategic Dashboards

1. Operational dashboards
—  Business operational processes are displayed here. This dashboard type requires real-time or near this data.  In other words, this dashboard shows what is happening to business right now. 

2. Analytical Dashboard
—  allows track more data and have required information. This dashboard gives more wide understanding. It may combine strategic and operational data. 

3. Strategic Dashboard
— usually provides key performance indicators such as sales pipeline etc

While dashboard creation we should remember this difference, orienting at the required user group.

2. Colors and visual design of dashboards

Choose up to 3 colors and follow them. This is important because the colors variety may take the user’s attention away from the important information and it will be too difficult to concentrate on the really important data. Color choosing while dashboard creation is quite a difficult moment. For example, using the same colors for the same items on all charts makes the dashboard interface more clear for the user and reduces possible confusion. Dashboard UI interface should be as clear, as it is possible. The colors psychology should also be taken into the account here. For example, the red color associated with  «stop» or «something went wrong» for the majority of users, while the green color with «go» or «everything works well». A good UI designer always takes this into the consideration. 

3. And again about the simplicity. The less is more if the conversation is about UI/UX design for dashboard

And again psychologists 😉 They say that ordinary user may comfortably comprehend about 7 visualizations. The rest will translate into visual noise.

Hence, the light and simple interface is the core aim at this stage. The best interfaces in the world are not the data-heavy interfaces. If you are planning to create a working, clear and user-oriented dashboard design the main question should be: «Is this information really important to the user?»

4. Let the user to drill-down into the dashboard

Here a great example is the newspaper website where the user has an undeniable opportunity to drill into the deeper pages. Give the opportunity to choose the information which is important to the user in this very moment and drill down to get the information he is looking for. 

5. The secret of the top-left region

The top-left region of the page is a region where our eyes start reading the page. While content reading our eyes move left — > right. The UI/UX designer takes this fact into the consideration while dashboard creation and puts the most important information on the top-left region of the page. 

6. Reinvent the wheel is a bad idea. Keep UI / UX design standards while dashboard designing

There are certain standards of UI/UX design for the dashboard. Sometimes they are common for all websites and the reason is not a lazy designer. The key reason is that the certain functionality in certain place works the best. For example, the majority of B2B apps have the left-aligned navigation bar. Therefore, each dashboard designer should follow this rule in B2B apps and should not to reinvent something from the ground up. The exclusion is when we have 100% guarantees that it will work. 

7. Be ready to help

Self-explanatory is a very good feature in the dashboard UI and UX design and ideally, it should be available on any dashboard. Use contextual help to simplify the user communication with the platform. Hovering over a help icon may be a good decision in this situation. 

As you see Dashboard UI/UX design is a complex thing and when we are speaking, for example, about B2B SaaS product, the dashboard is the main interface for interaction. Well-designed product dashboard empowers users to make better decisions while a bad designed may confuse user and waste his time.

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