Dashboard creation is not always easy, and the wrong choices lead to a forgotten tool that nobody uses. Here are a few golden rules on how to create dashboards that will deliver powerful insights for your business.
Designed correctly, dashboards can be a powerful tool that inspire users and draw out important insights. However, all too often they are created with all the fanfare and excitement before being left by the wayside, unused and unloved. In many cases, this could be avoided by taking a more strategic approach to dashboard creation right from the start.
Here is a set of golden rules for dashboard creation, to help you create strategically designed visual aids that tell a story with your data, and inspire insight-driven actions from users.
Make Sure You Have a Strategy
First things first – ask yourself what is the goal of this dashboard? They can be used for business reporting, tracking marketing performance, monitoring media campaigns… The list is pretty limitless. Next, think about who it is for – which departments, stakeholders? Answering these questions right at the start will help determine the best way to approach it.
The more senior or more general the audience, the higher level the information on that page should be, e.g. KPI focused, sales, reach. Conversely, the more specific the audience (e.g. a paid social department), the more specific the information on the page e.g. social CPM, engagements.
Lastly, determine the specific KPIs and metrics that will populate this dashboard. It’s important at this stage not to think about siloed KPIs specific only to each department, but how they can be aligned with and complement the overall goals of the business.
Always Try to Tell a Story
Marketers try to make sense of information by processing data using tools like Adverity, but that still is only halfway to being useful to a marketing manager. To go beyond simply reporting on information, you need to provide a dashboard that inspires new actions based on what is interesting, different and compelling.
This is where storytelling comes in, and the key here is creating a narrative. You already have your data and your basic dashboard will provide the visuals – but to get the most out of it, you need to tie this all together with a specific narrative that explains the data.
For example, if your dashboard tracks marketing performance, your data can let you know that sales has taken a dip over a specific period. This should be easily identifiable from the visuals but, to give this a narrative, it needs context – whether that performance drop is simply a comparison to a previous reporting cycle, or there is a deeper reason for it.
Text boxes are a useful tool that guide the narrative for users who use the dashboards. Use these to provide context, background information, or action plans that go beyond what the numbers on the charts merely say.
Read in more detail on the Adverity blog on these golden rules for dashboard creation.