The meat of the Dashboard Potatoes: Best Practices

A dashboard is great, but only if there are specific actions that can be taken after reviewing the information. Do dashboards need to be designed with the user in mind? Who will access use the information? What will the dashboard be used to monitor and what questions will the data visualizations answer? 

What makes a good dashboard?

- Simplicity (has to be easy to use, and there's no need for bells and whistles. Group data to organize with the most important items)

- Standardization (how else could you make comparisons)  

- Data quality is a must (if you're reading the wrong data, you're going to make the wrong decisions)

- The degree of analysis (do you need a high level or deep dive into the data?)

- You can print it, share it and see it on various devices

- Colors and charts make things easier to understand  

- It's dynamic, so users can drop down to understand where the information is coming from and it becomes interactive

Things to think about when creating a dashboard: 

  • How often would you like to update the dashboards? Hourly, daily, weekly, annually? 

  • The level of capacity of the users 

  • Whose reading the dashboard? 1 user or a group of users?
  • Is this quantitative or non-quantitative 
  • I would say here the technology platform, but let's be real, it's all about that Cloud
  • What metrics are you trying to understand? 
  • What are the top 3-5 decisions to be made from this data

The data management perspective is done with a flat file ( a simple excel file) or a pivot table. A flight file will require manual addition of formulas and calculations. Pivot tables make it easier to troubleshoot and manipulate data.