Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
A Quick Look at Dashboard Design Principles
Use layout and placement to draw focus
As discussed earlier in this chapter, only include measures that support your dashboard’s goal.
However, just because all measures on your dashboard are significant, they may not always have the
same level of importance. In other words, you will frequently want one component of your
dashboard to stand out from the others.
Instead of using bright colors or exaggerated sizing differences, you can leverage location and
placement to draw focus to the most important components on your dashboard.
Various studies have shown that readers have a natural tendency to focus on particular regions of a
document. For example, researchers at the Poynter Institute’s Eyetracker III project have found that
readers view various regions on a screen in a certain order, paying particular attention to specific
regions on the screen. They use the diagram in Figure 1-7 to illustrate what they call priority zones .
Regions with the number 1 in the diagram seem to have high prominence, attracting the most
attention for longer periods of time. Meanwhile number 3 regions seem to have low prominence.
Figure 1-7: Studies show that users pay particular attention to the upper left and middle left of a document.
You can leverage these priority zones to promote or demote certain components based on
significance. If one of the charts on your dashboard warrants special focus, you can simply place that chart
in a region of prominence.
Surrounding colors, borders, fonts, and other formatting can affect the viewing patterns
of your readers, de-emphasizing a previously high-prominence region.
Format numbers effectively
Undoubtedly, you will use lots of numbers in your dashboards. Some of them will be in charts,
whereas others will be in tables. Remember that every piece of information on your dashboard