Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Key Questions to Ask Before Distributing Your Dashboard
Key Questions to Ask Before
Distributing Your Dashboard
Before you send out your finished dashboard, it’s worth your time to step back and measure it
against some of the design principles we discuss in this chapter. Here are some key questions you
can use as a checklist before distributing your dashboard.
Does my dashboard present the right information?
Look at the information you’re presenting and determine whether it meets the purpose of the
dashboard identified during requirements gathering. Don’t be timid about clarifying the purpose of the
dashboard again with your core users. You want to avoid building the dashboard in a vacuum. Allow
a few test users to see iterations as you develop it. This way, communication remains open, and you
won’t go too far in the wrong direction.
Does everything on my dashboard have a purpose?
Take an honest look at how much information on your dashboard doesn’t support its main purpose.
In order to keep your dashboard as valuable as possible, you don’t want to dilute it with
niceto-know data that’s interesting, but not actionable. Remember, if the data doesn’t support the
core purpose of the dashboard, leave it out. Nothing says you have to fill every bit of white space
on the page.
Does my dashboard prominently display the key message?
Every dashboard has one or more key messages. You want to ensure that these messages are
prominently displayed. To test whether the key messages in a dashboard are prominent, stand back and
squint your eyes while you look at the dashboard. Look away and then look at the dashboard several
times. What jumps out at you first? If it’s not the key components you want to display, then you’ll
have to change something. Here are a few actions you can take to ensure that your key components
➤ Place the key components of your dashboard in the upper-left or middle-left of the page.
As I noted earlier, studies show that these areas attract the most attention for longer periods
➤ De-emphasize borders, backgrounds, and other elements that define dashboard areas. Try to
use the natural white space between your components to partition your dashboard. If
borders are necessary, format them to lighter hues than your data.
➤ Format labels and other text to lighter hues than your data. Lightly colored labels give your
users the information they need without distracting them from the information displayed.