Back to Basics: 5 Things to Think about When You Create a Dashboard


Your organization has invested a lot of time and money collecting data and wants to get some useful information out of what you’ve collected. In the early days of BI, usually only a few people in the company could make sense of the data. But today, with dashboards, more and more employees are able to access the data and use it to make better decisions.

Tweet: Back to Basics: 5 Things to Think about When You Create a Dashboard

What does this mean to you, the dashboard designer? It means you are probably creating dashboards for more than just one or two individuals. And because you have so many end users, creating dashboards that are used or not can severely impact what the company experiences in terms of ROI in the dashboards themselves. The bottom line: you want your dashboards to be understood by every end user. How can you do it? Get back to basics and follow these 5 concepts.

(more…)

A Cool Tool for Experimenting with Dashboard and Portal Color Schemes

Year after year, our web site visitors have shown a great deal of interest in an article I wrote about a tool that can be used to explore color combinations online – Adobe Color. Since I have never gone into detail about how to use the tool, I thought people might benefit from a short tutorial. So I am updating my original blog post for this month’s dashboard design article.

Tweet: A Cool Tool for Experimenting with Dashboard and Portal Color Schemes

For DivePort users who want to create a beautiful user interface that is both highly functional and visually appealing, color choice is an important factor. If selecting colors is not your forte and you need something other than what is available on your company’s color palette, you can use Adobe Color. Let’s take a look at how to use Adobe Color Creative Suite to find colors for your dashboards. (more…)

Visual Standards in Dashboard Design

People often confuse design with style. But this is misguided. They do not mean the same thing. Design principles do not change. Yet style is changing constantly.

Tweet: Visual standards in dashboard design

In this article, I am going to take a look at visual standards in dashboard design. We’ll examine how you can use design principles to determine the best dashboard – both in style and in functionality – for your users. (more…)

How to Get a Fresh Dashboard Look and Feel

In January, I conducted our company’s bi-monthly customer webinar and talked about some best practices for dashboard design. I also presented a new user interface design that our designer John Hu had recently created. The dashboards and reports he created are wonderful! This design is now being used in the 7.0 version of our healthcare and manufacturing applications, and the look really gives a fresh appeal to Dimensional Insight products.

Tweet: How to get a fresh look and feel for your dashboard

At the end of the webinar, one of the attendees asked me if I could help her get the same look and feel on her dashboards. In this article, I do just that – outline the steps to get the look and feel of this user interface. (more…)

Designing a Print-Ready PDF in PrintDP

Last year, I wrote an article,  How to Design a Print-Ready DivePort Page, which outlined the steps one should take to create a PDF from DivePort that would print correctly, fitting entirely within the boundaries of one 8.5” by 11” sheet of paper. Soon thereafter, I received an email from Paul Duggan, software development manager at Dynamic Business Informatics in Dublin, Ireland. He pointed out that although my method was useful to people in the United States where it is customary to use 8.5” by 11” paper, the method would need to be modified for European “Divers” who typically print to an A4 format (8.27” by 11.69”).

Tweet: Designing a print-ready PDF in PrintDP

Furthermore, Paul showed me that although my method is suitable for designing a print-ready DivePort page, it is NOT compatible with the “PrintDP Process Node”. A PrintDP node or “Print DivePort page”, is a Production process node in Diver Platform that saves a selected DivePort page to either a PDF or PNG file without launching a browser. The saved file can then be emailed to a defined mailing list. This allows you to automate a process to share dashboards and/or key portal pages with end-users who do not regularly log in to the portal. Luckily, Paul did a little research and came up with a solution for the “PrintDP” process node which I will share with you here today. (more…)

3 Ways to Brush Up Your Dashboard Design Skills

3 ways to brush up on your dashboard design skillsIn the past, I’ve focused on visual design tips in my Dashboard Design column. However, response from our recent customer webinar on dashboard design was mixed. Half of the audience said they would use the visual design information. The other half was more interested in a different kind of design. NOT visual design, but DATA design. So, for this month’s article on Dashboard Design, I am focusing on data design.

Tweet: 3 ways to brush up your dashboard design skills

The practice of dashboard design draws on a practitioner’s knowledge and expertise in different domains: data design and visual design. It is a rare individual who has advanced skill levels in both domains. And, the field of dashboard design itself is constantly in flux. So, for the dashboard designer to seek continuous improvement is not only desirable – but it is necessary. How can you improve your own dashboard design skills? Let’s examine 3 ways. (more…)

How to Create a Dashboard Design Look Book (#2 in a Series)

In my last blog post, I talked about how create a specific dashboard that would help you save time on design. Now in this post, I will take a look at a very different type of dashboard that you can add to your Dashboard Design Look Book.

Tweet: How to create a dashboard design look book (#2 in a series)

With these instructions, you should be able to create the same look and feel in your own interface. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how to create this month’s dashboard. (more…)

How to Create a Dashboard Design Look Book (#1 in a Series)

dashboard-design-look-bookIn the past, I’ve written articles about dashboard design at a conceptual level, dispensing advice about how much white space to use or sharing thoughts about whether to use images. Today, I want to share something more concrete: step-by-step instructions to set up a dashboard so that you save time on design. This will become a sort of Dashboard Design Look Book once we create several different dashboards.

Tweet: How to create a dashboard design look book

Here’s what I did: I selected some interesting-looking dashboard designs from our company’s archives and then I reverse engineered them. Now, with the instructions I’m supplying, you should be able to create the same look and feel in your own interface – whether it be DivePort or another tool. I’ll do a different look and feel each month so you will have a variety of dashboards to build easily! (more…)

How to Select Charts for Effective Data Display

effective data displayToday’s dashboard environments provide dashboard designers with a rich set of indicators and charts, ranging from bullet graphs to spark lines to bar charts to bubble graphs. Additionally, numerous formatting options such as splines and 3D displays add even more complexity.

Tweet: How to select charts for effective data display

To the casual observer, charts may appear to be largely interchangeable and are simply left to the discretion of the dashboard designer. But as the art and science of effective dashboard design has evolved, data visualization gurus have established some guidelines regarding which charts and indicators to use for various types of data and how to present those charts most effectively. This matter is receiving increasing media attention as dashboards migrate to the limited display “real estate” found on mobile devices, placing a premium on efficient dashboard-based information delivery. Here we’ll examine the best ways for effective data display so your users clearly understand the data. (more…)

How to Get Some Dashboard Design Inspiration

girl-has-idea-minAs a designer, I know – everyone gets bored with design from time-to-time. You *could* imitate someone else’s design or flat-out use a template. But that feels a little like “cheating” – especially when the design you are creating is for a high-paying client with high-level expectations. It’s times like these that we all need some creative inspiration. So I’d like to help by sharing with you my favorite dashboard design inspiration.

Tweet: How to get some dashboard design inspiration

Because creative roadblocks are not uncommon, there are actually a whole slew of tools that have been built to help people when they are stuck. My favorite is Roger Von Oech’s Creative Whack Pack. The author published this deck of cards after writing his first book, A Kick in the Pants, which is also very good for stimulating inspiration. Here’s a sampling of the cards in the Whack Pack to give you a sense of how these can help. (more…)