A Dashboard is an important tool for efficiently conveying information and engaging your audience.
The dashboard creation process takes into account the data your user needs and understands how they want to view it. It is important for every organization. This is because dashboards are widely used for various scenarios – sales, marketing, accounting, management, SaaS, or analytics.
While it is not complicated, there are some steps you need to follow to create a dashboard:
Firstly, you’ll need to understand your audience and the metrics that matter to them. You’ll also need to realize that the audience wants to view visually exciting essential business insights, KPIs, and real-time data.
If you’re looking for a straightforward route to dashboard creation, this step-by-step guide will be helpful to you.
Let’s jump right in.
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How to Create an Effective Dashboard? (8 Steps)
When creating a valuable dashboard for your audience, you need to keep them in mind with every step you take. Your audience is the end-user of your dashboard, and you must strongly consider their needs and interests while creating it.
It would be best if you were also mindful of the decisions they want to make based on the data. Take note of the metrics most important to them and make sure they get them.
Here’s how to create an intuitive, visually appealing dashboard.
1. Define Your Audience
First, you need to define your target audience. Your target audience is an integral part of the dashboard creation process.
The dashboard needs to be relevant, accessible, and easy for them to use. To properly define your audience in your dashboard creation process, consider providing answers to the following questions:
- Who are you creating a dashboard for?
- Why do they need it, and what do they want to achieve?
- What are their daily work-related activities?
- Which KPIs/metrics do they need to measure to reach their goals frequently?
- How do they view those KPIs/metrics currently?
If you have successfully answered these questions, the next step of the dashboard creation process is to.
2. Look Closely at Your Data
Take a look at the data you already have and see how it can inform your dashboard creation thought process. After identifying the data and insights you need, pair that with your audience’s needs and objectives to serve as proper building blocks.
Depending on which audience objectives you’re working on, you should consider data sources within or outside your department. Plus, don’t forget that the data must be accurate, quality, and clean.
3. Use the Right Chart Type
Using the right chart type to visualize your data can have a massive difference on your dashboard. The visualization chart type on your dashboard should be informed by the KPIs and metrics that matter to your audience.
Here are some of the most common types of charts used and when to use each one:
Line Charts – Visualize trends and show developments of a particular variable over time.
Bar Charts – Show trends and variable comparisons.
Pie Charts – Visualize variable proportions summed up to 100% (use them sparingly).
Area Charts – Present multiple data series with part to whole relationships or individual series representing a physically countable set.
Tables – Illustrate detailed information with different variables of measure.
Gauges – Display one or more values using indicators and appropriate metrics.
For an effective dashboard, use a combination of these chart types only when and where it is appropriate.
4. Use the Right Color Combination
Colors convey emotions and are essential to the success of any dashboard. When selecting colors for your dashboard, you should consider that some of your audience might be colorblind and color impaired.
They might not be able to distinguish different shades of colors and also can’t perceive changes in brightness. The best practice when selecting colors is to use two or three (maximum) recognizable colors and use them everywhere.
5. Include a Mix of Perspectives
When creating dashboards, you should understand that your audience is not only concerned with viewing real-time (present) data, they also want to see data from the past and future to make decisions from a balanced, holistic perspective.
During dashboard creation, ensure you present a mix of past, present, and future data for your audience. Create a panoramic view of critical data insight in the dashboard.
You can also add filter functionality, making the dashboard easy to analyze and view while maintaining design consistency. When you present your audience with a balanced view, they will make better, data-driven decisions and gain valuable insights to drive business growth.
6. Optimize for Mobile
Mobile technology is ubiquitous – we almost all have cell phones to connect to information in the digital age. It’s in your best interests to optimize your dashboard for mobile.
This lets your audience check for critical data and KPIs on the go, wherever they may be in the world. Optimizing the output across various devices (including mobile) is crucial to creating effective dashboard designs.
Mobile design differs from desktop design because the dimensions are different. As a result, you have to scale your desktop designs to mobile screens without compromising functionality.
7. Interactivity Matters
Your audience wants to interact with the data on the dashboard, so you should consider that while building it. If you take advantage of interactivity in your dashboard creation process, users can quickly and easily dig deep into the data.
The goal is to help your audience simplify their analytical processes with a user-friendly dashboard. An interactive dashboard solves that – it provides your audience with limitless possibilities when it comes to data manipulation.
Learn more about interactive dashboards here.
8. Take Advantage of Templates
Lastly, you can rely on templates to ease the dashboard creation process. If you’re using professional dashboard creation software, you’ll likely find predefined dashboard templates.
These templates help you take advantage of predefined styles, charts, graphs, and layouts. If you want to quickly get past the dashboard creation stage (and don’t have time to create from scratch), using predefined templates is the way forward!
They will save you time, give you some foundational inspiration and help you avoid mistakes.
Dashboard Creation Using FusionCharts?
There you have it – the steps you need to follow for an effective dashboard creation process.
First, start with your target audience. Define their dashboard needs and the same goals they need to achieve.
Next, look at the data you already have and observe vital insights that should inform every step of the dashboard creation process. Use appropriate charts and the right color combination and include a balanced perspective (add past, real-time and predictive data).
Also, don’t forget to optimize for mobile users and add some interactivity.
And, if you’re pressed for time and can’t start from scratch, take advantage of done-for-you dashboard templates.
FusionCharts is dashboard creation software with beautiful dashboard templates for the web and mobile.
You’ll get a collection of templates built to track critical KPIs for various use cases: technology, marketing, SaaS, sales management, and investment portfolio.
At the click of a button, you can see the source code for any dashboard.
Sign up to FusionCharts and get started creating a dashboard today!