Design for Use as a Launch Pad

As single-screen displays, dashboards do not always provide all the information needed to perform a job or to pursue a particular set of objectives. They can provide the initial overview that is needed for monitoring at a high level, but they might need to be supplemented with additional information for more comprehensive understanding and response. Dashboards should almost always be designed for interaction. The most common types of dashboard interaction are:

  • Drilling down into the details
  • Slicing the data to narrow the field of focus

Whichever of these you intend, when your dashboard serves as a launch pad to additional, complementary information, be sure to keep the following principles in mind:

  • Allow the viewer to initiate the launch by clicking the data itself.
  • Use consistent launch actions.

Enabling the viewer to access additional data (such as the details beneath the overview) via direct interaction is easy and intuitive, and it saves space on the dashboard by eliminating separate controls such as buttons. If you display a bar graph in which each bar represents the revenue of a different sales region, for example, it might be ideal to allow the viewer to click directly on a particular bar to see a graph that further subdivides that region's revenue according to the individual states that belong to the region. Likewise, if there are times when a viewer might want to know the precise value for a particular data point along a line graph, the ability to hover over that position and have the value pop up temporarily as text is ideal. Whatever mechanism you decide to build into the dashboard to initiate links to additional data, make sure that it is consistent wherever it appears, to avoid confusion.


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



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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