My last article in the series Data Visualization Basics for Dashboards was about the architecture of dashboard applications and fundamental concepts of charting. This pen-ultimate article of the series, will talk about gauges and the right way of incorporating them in dashboards.
What are gauges and how are they used in Dashboards?
Gauges (also called widgets) are digitized versions of mechanical measuring instruments like pressure gauge, speedometer, thermometer etc. Unlike charts, which summarize data and present it in a manner so as to make analysis easier, gauges are single value indicators which can be used as progress indicators, quantity/value indicators and key performance indicators (KPIs).
1 Key Performance Indicator
Gauges are ideally deployed in the summary view of a dashboard application and since they are digitized versions of traditional meters and monitoring instruments, gauges must only be used for indicating the current status of variable parameters. Quite often, one comes across applications where gauges are used as fancy objects for showing non variable parameters. Such misuse is common in Scorecard applications where gauges are used for indicating KPIs like average revenue per employee.
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