Quality performance is one of the strongest drivers of customer satisfaction. You can easily improve performance by leveraging performance dashboards. They support the decision-making process and offer a central location to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs). However, a performance dashboard is only as effective as it is designed.
The human brain is a good model to look towards when building a performance dashboard. It gives meaning to data and makes informed decisions. This happens seamlessly and without much effort on the user’s part.
Meaningful data is all about presentation. A well-designed performance dashboard allows the user to understand what story the data is telling at one glance. Best practices for building performance dashboards are grouped into three areas:
Effective Dashboards 101
No undertaking, be it launching a space shuttle or throwing a birthday party, is done well without a plan. When building your performance dashboard consider who you are making it for and what data is relevant to them.
Consider your audience
Keep your audience in mind when planning which data and features to include in your performance dashboard. The information a manager needs readily available is not the same as an agent needs while on a call.
- Who am I designing this for?
- What is their level of expertise?
- What data is important to your audience?
Keep the user at the center of your design and create dashboards that suit specific roles.
Choose data that matters
Performance dashboards make complex data easy to understand and apply. But, displaying data that is not relevant just creates noise.
- How does this data contribute to your dashboard’s objective?
- Is this data truly necessary?
Group data by when it is used or by type. You should be able to explain how each set of data presented connects to the goal of the dashboard. Start minimal and build from there.
Filters are your friend
Your performance dashboard makes sure users have relevant data when they need it. Filters let you zero in on relevant data. But, overuse of filters can bog down the system resulting in slow page load times.
Careful planning and thoughtful design reduce the need to filter for results.
Effective performance dashboards are easy to use. Users spend less time searching for the data they need because it is easily found. You can create an effective performance dashboard by employing a few design principles.
The eyes have it
Studies of how eyes track across an image, page, or screen have contributed a lot of useful data to the design world. By understanding how users intuitively interact with information, you can present your data in a way that makes sense.
- Most users look at the top left corner first.
- Larger objects act like magnets.
Draw attention to important data by placing it in areas users will look first and make frequently used buttons large so they’re easy to spot.
Charts and color add visual distinction
Charts and color work together to help users easily find the meaning of complex data. Charts are visual representations that make data more approachable. Color makes the information in these charts stand out.
But, these features must be used with care and a bit of restraint. Overloading your users will result in slow analysis. Stick to two or three colors and minimize the number of charts on the dashboard at once.
Make sure you choose the right visual representation of your data. Different charts work better than others depending on what story you are trying to tell.
- Pie charts are good for understanding how a whole set of data is made up.
- Line charts are good for showing the progression of data over time.
Always be testing
One of the very best practices for building performance dashboards is understanding that your dashboard is never finished. Be open to feedback from your users and willing to make adjustments to improve your strategy and reporting system. Different features work at different periods and your dashboard should reflect that.
Performance dashboards serve an indispensable purpose. They make data easy to access during critical moments. Careful planning and thoughtful design ensure your dashboard is used to the fullest extent.