Displaying Excessive Detail or Precision

Dashboards almost always require fairly high-level information to support the viewer's need for a quick overview. Too much detail, or measures that are expressed too precisely (for example, $3,848,305.93 rather than $3,848,305, or perhaps even $3.8M), just slow viewers down without providing them any benefit. In a way, this problem is the opposite extreme of the one we examined in the previous sectiontoo much information rather than too little.

The dashboard in Figure 3-6 illustrates this type of excess. Examine the two sections that I've enclosed in red rectangles. The lower-right section displays from 4 to 10 decimal digits for each measure, which might be useful in some contexts, but doubtfully in a dashboard. The highlighted section above displays time down to the level of seconds, which also seems like overkill in this context. With a dashboard, every unnecessary piece of information results in time wasted trying to filter out what's important, which is intolerable when time is of the essence.

Figure 3-6. This dashboard shows unnecessary detail, such as times expressed to the second and measures expressed to 10 decimal places.






Information Dashboard Design. The Effective Visual Communication of Data
Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data
ISBN: 0596100167
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 80
Authors: Stephen Few
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