What is the recipe for a perfect dashboard?

August 9, 2023
Data Visualization

In today's data-driven world, dashboard visualization plays a pivotal role in providing actionable insights. Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned data analyst, developing an effective dashboard can be a challenge. To help, we've put together a comprehensive guide on crafting a dashboard that not only serves its purpose but stands out

This recipe is based on Scandic Fusion framework. However, it's important to note that these ingredients don't guarantee a flawless outcome. Just like the best lasagna recipe may not satisfy everyone's taste, variables come into play.  

Steps before developing a dashboard

Get to know the end-users

  • Identify different user groups and usage scenarios. Keep in mind security filters!
  • Ask about end-user experience with BI tools & technologies.
  • Identify intended usage of the dashboard and visualizations - device or presentation format they are planned for

Inspire users during the requirement definition process

  • Show a demo dashboard which represents the BI tool functionality & dashboard best practices.
  • Help to define requirements by providing a template with examples.

Get inspired

  • Review dashboards from public galleries
  • Ask for a real or virtual tour to understand business processes

Review & prepare the data model

  • Check if all needed granularity/measures are available
  • Test data quality & play with data
  • Evaluate if new logic needs to be implemented

Developing a dashboard

Start with a prototype – potential user story

  • Draw a simple schema with navigations and objects per page
  • Validate the structure with different user groups
  • Check the data limits/performance for the initial structure. Having a high number of objects per page or too many rows   can impact performance!
Example of an Overview page. Dashboard made by Ilze Lulle.

Supplement the data model

  • Adjust the existing data for dashboard use (create groups, prepare final measures – scaling, aggregation and format)

Validate the data & dashboard concept

  • Create a draft version with navigations and give it for testing before creating the whole dashboard
  • Test various use cases & performance for each user group
  • Create control reports (raw data or intermediate results of the complex calculations)
  • Test usability (Interactions, structure)

Make a dashboard user-friendly

  • Add notes, icons, helpful insights
  • Create a welcome page with navigation map
  • Add help or technical info page with used sources
Example of a Store profile. Dashboard made by Ilze Lulle.

Going live!

Launch the dashboard

  • Demonstrate the dashboard or create a short video
  • Organize BI tool training

Make your dashboard better

  • Ask for feedback, create a survey about dashboard usability and missing functionality
  • Continuous improvements
  • Provide documentation/ instructions
  • Monitor usage statistics

Celebrate! 🎉

Extra karma points

  • Follow reporting consistency guidelines or establish them if they don’t exist
  • Use a BI template/style sheets/themes with pre-defined formatting
  • Follow specific BI tool best practices
  • Follow the naming principles
  • Create backup versions during the development process
  • Register ideas or cases when there is missing functionality
  • Save developer notes for the documentation
  • Capture a print screen of the final result
  • Perform a quality check by reviewing the dashboard and removing unnecessary objects

Company facts

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Alīna Drazdovska

Data Analytics Consultant

Want to learn more?