A digital dashboard helps in monitoring a wide range of parameters. So, it is essential that the dashboard be designed ergonomically. Following 5 factors should be taken into account while designing a digital dashboard:
- Prioritize through positioning: A dashboard displays data through charts and gauges, but not all data is equally important. Certain data might be extremely important and it might be that the rest of the information that is displayed on the dashboard can only be comprehended if this data is analyzed first. Under such circumstances a dashboard designer must position the important chart to the top-left corner of the dashboard, since this region receives the preliminary attention of a viewer.
- Facilitate comparative analysis: In case you have two charts that are meant to be contrasted, then it is best to arrange them side by side. This arrangement signifies the need for comparison.
- Customize chart scale for optimal data presentation: Sometimes the data displayed on a chart has a very narrow range. This makes the task of analyzing the data a lot difficult. Such situations call for manipulation of the chart scale. The chart scale should be adjusted so that, its lower limit and upper limit are close to the lower and upper limit of the data range. This adjustment will help in accentuating the ups and downs of the plotted data, thereby making analysis easier.
- Appropriate selection of charts: For maximum impact, it is essential that you choose the right chart for you data. The pie chart is often used inappropriately. A pie chart is actually meant for plotting percentages but, it is sometimes used for plotting non-percentage data such as sales, revenue, quantity etc.
- Proper formatting of numbers: It doesn't make sense to have a chart that displays numbers with unnecessary accuracy. Neither does it help , if the chart is cluttered with very large numbers. So, it is best to restrict the number of decimal places to 1 or 2. And, scale large numbers by defining a proper scaling parameter. The K,M scale can be applied to financial charts to scale down numbers which are greater then thousand and million.
Dashboards are an important aspect of business management systems and they are referred to during planning and decision making process. Therefore, it is essential to make the dashboard uncluttered and user friendly. And, the guidelines stated above will help you do - just that.
To learn more about dashboard tools and to see some examples of well designed Flash charts and dashboards visit http://www.fusioncharts.com
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