With the ever-increasing number of companies adopting data analytics as a business tool, a comprehensive enterprise dashboard is by far the most popular way to express or visualize results or insights. Obviously, dashboard creators intend them to provide an accurate, all-inclusive view of the state of a business. Ideally, a well-designed analytics dashboard is capable of presenting timely, accurate information in a way that is easy to understand. By the same token, dashboard viewers should be able to quickly pinpoint and analyze trends in their data. It stands to reason then, that as data analytics gains more traction, the demand for effective dashboards is also increasing. Companies are looking for expedient ways to make dashboard visualizations more effective and viewer-friendly.
As Edward Tufte, data visualization expert pits it “Graphical excellence is that which gives to the viewer the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time with the least ink in the smallest space.” It is a simple but effective argument — to be effective dashboards need to be comprehensive, clear, and, above all else, concise.
In this blog post, we’ll look at some recent and emerging data visualization trends that make your dashboard design more responsive, effective, and appealing to your user. To read about the trends we discuss here in-depth, please check out our “10 Emerging Trends in Dashboard Design” whitepaper.
Why is a responsive dashboard layout important for a better viewing experience?
With the increased capabilities of modern devices, design responsiveness has become a key challenge. This is because it directly impacts the user experience. With the average person accessing their information from several devices, it is now crucially important to design interfaces that react and adapt to user behavior. In this case, that means enabling a smooth transitional display on a PC, phone iPad, or tablet.
Graphic designer Ethan Marcotte perfectly summarizes this idea when he suggests that “rather than tailoring disconnected designs to each of an ever-increasing number of web devices, we can treat them as facets of the same experience.”
With the mainstream adoption of smartphones, tablets, and plenty of other mobile devices, your users want information on the move. The result is an increased responsibility for designers to create responsive dashboards that adapt to any viewing medium. SproutSocial and Mint’s dashboards are great examples of responsive dashboard layouts. They offer the same experience across all devices and browsers.
How does interactivity help engage the dashboard viewers?
There was a time when we were pretty satisfied with static dashboard design. We also considered the fixed selection of information our apps provided us adequate. As technology has advanced, however, so have our expectations. Now, we demand that dashboards and other visualization components are interactive and respond directly to our needs.
For instance, zooming in and zooming out is a basic interactive experience that we expect. It makes accessing our information quick and easy without changing views. Furthermore, slice and dice interactivities allow us to take our data analysis to a whole new level.
What is the role of trendlines and progress bars in adding context to data?
According to the 10 Emerging Trends in Dashboard Design whitepaper, data, put in the right context helps users find answers to questions. Questions like ‘how far are we from achieving our target?’ or, ‘how do our sales today compare to last month?’
If, as a sales manager your dashboard tells you that the overall sales for this quarter are $25K, it is useful information. If, however, your dashboard also told you that was up 25 percent on your last quarter, the data instantly becomes more meaningful. This is where features like trendlines and progress bars provide depth and context to otherwise one-dimensional information.
Today’s dashboards employ multiple methods, like Spark Charts, to provide their users with increased data context and relevance.
What is the importance of real-time updates and alerts in dashboard visualizations?
Technological developments in both in-stream and ad-hoc processing, have made it easier to get real-time updates on your dashboard directly. Granted, real-time information is not essential for many tasks. For tasks like Web Traffic Monitoring using A/B tests or Stock Ticker updates, however, real-time information can go a long way toward helping you back the right horse.
Is there an impact to choosing a broader color palette on visualizations?
Traditionally, designers recommended using a maximum of two to three colors for dashboard visualizations. With the advent of modern design concepts like blending and opacity, that, however has changed. Now designers focus on creating a combination of colors that, together, promote a more pleasant user experience.
Today’s dashboards involve the skillful use of a broader color palette. On one hand, we have dashboards that use shades of gray as their core color. On the other hand, there are dashboards with bold and uncommon color combinations. Somewhere in between are dashboards that use bright pastel colors against a muted background.
Click below to discover how emerging trends in dashboard design can take your dashboard visualizations to the next level.