To design dashboards that really work, you must always focus on the fundamental goal: communication. More than anything else, you must care that the people who use your dashboards can look at them and understand themsimply, clearly, and quickly. Dashboards designed for any other reason, no matter how impressive or entertaining, will become tiresome in a few days and will be discarded in a few weeksand few things are more discouraging than having your hard work tossed aside as useless.
When I design something that makes people's lives better, helps them work smarter, or gives them what they need to succeed in something that is important to them, I am reminded that one of the great cornerstones of a life worth living is the joy of doing good work. This doesn't just happen; it is the result of effort that you make because you care. Your dashboards may not change the world in any big way, but anything you do well will change you to some degree for the better. Even if the business goals that you're helping someone achieve through a well-designed dashboard don't ultimately matter to you or are not intrinsically worthy of great effort, you're worth the effort, and that's enough. In fact, that's plenty.
Clarifying the Vision
Variations in Dashboard Uses and Data
Thirteen Common Mistakes in Dashboard Design
Tapping into the Power of Visual Perception
Eloquence Through Simplicity
Effective Dashboard Display Media
Designing Dashboards for Usability
Putting It All Together