Dashboards are a specialized type of application that must meet the needs of the business and its users. Follow these guidelines for designing a dashboard that is effective and easy to use.
Make the dashboard more than just a scorecard.
Back up your graphs and other visual tools with data.
Provide customized views.
Try to give users ways to customize the data to see only what they want to see in the format they prefer.
Build in custom indicators and alerts.
Give users indicators that make sense to them. If possible, give them the ability to specify the thresholds themselves.
Make sure users can get details about a problem or issue.
A dashboard should show users high-level data and then allow them to drill down to see details that will help them understand a problem or issue.
Allow users to take action from the dashboard.
Give users tools that allow them to take action on any problems uncovered by the data. They should be able to access the tools directly from the dashboard, but if that is not possible, give users a link to the business tool they need.
Make sure there is consensus over key performance indicators.
Business leaders within the organization may have different opinions on what the key performance indicators are for the business. Obtain consensus before beginning development about what data needs to be shown to avoid confusion or redesigning later.
Manage expectations. A dashboard cannot solve problems of poor performance of key business objectives.
Investing money in a dashboard can highlight problems in a business, but cannot fix them.