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7 Simple Secrets To Nailing Your CEO Dashboard
by Matillion Ltd

by Dashboard Insight, Dashboard InsightThursday, February 27, 2014

Are you feeling underwhelmed by the performance of your CEO Dashboard? These simple secrets could completely change the way you view your data.

For CEOs, the importance of being able to gain actionable insights into company performance quickly cannot be overstated. A CEO Dashboard can provide an at-a-glance overview of these Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and allow you to make faster decisions in response to any issues that arise.

Dashboards can help to condense large volumes of data down into a much easier to interpret format, reducing both time and skills requirements in the process. Furthermore, Dashboards place a greater emphasis on the visual representation of information through the use of various graphs and charts. This makes the data more meaningful as well as being more aesthetically pleasing for users.

In theory this all sounds great, right? However, in practice, this is not always the case. Poor design or delivery can completely diminish the value of these Dashboards and can leave users feeling confused and frustrated. By following a few simple tips, you can optimise the performance of your CEO Dashboard and exploit the benefits of these fantastic tools.

1. Limit the Dashboard to a single screen

The whole crux of a CEO Dashboard is that it allows data to be viewed at a glance. For this reason, a best practice Dashboard should be generally be limited in size to a single page and be able to fit the screen of the devices on which it is going to be viewed, be that computer, mobile or tablet.

If the Dashboard does not fit onto a single screen and the user is required to scroll down or across it, some of the important data may be neglected.

2. Less is more when it comes to presenting data!

With the limited amount of space available on a CEO Dashboard, there is often the temptation to cram in as much data as possible. However, this can lead to Dashboards that look confusing, messy, and which are difficult to interpret.

CEOs do not need to be inundated with large volumes of metrics about every single aspect of the company, especially in larger organisations with numerous departments. Instead they rely on indicators which give a more generalised overview of performance. It is important to determine which metrics should be included on the Dashboard and then limit the data to the most important or most recent figures.

This can help to avoid overcrowded Dashboards and Visualizations that contain too much data like the examples below.

3. Think about the placement of data

It is usually the case that some KPIs are more important than others. Think carefully about which information you wish to emphasize, and how this can be achieved. The attention that information receives can be influenced by where it is located on the Dashboard. The figure below shows the areas that are more emphasized by the human eye than others.

4. Choose the right data visualization

Choosing the right data visualizations is a pivotal stage in the design process for a CEO Dashboard. It is easy to think that flashy effects and graphics will gain the greatest amount attention. But, in reality, visualizations that are simple, yet powerful, are the most effective when it comes to presenting data on a Dashboard.

Data visualizations such as bar charts, line graphs, scatter graphs and locational maps can all commonly be found across good examples of Dashboards.
However it is more simple Visualizations such as spark lines that can often be the most effective.

5. Use colour sparingly

There is often a temptation to use excessive amounts of colour, in order to highlight as much information as possible in the small amount of space that you have. This can lead to Dashboards looking confusing, congested and unprofessional.
It is important to understand the role that colour plays, and to analyse where it is needed and where it is not. In the process, you can cut down on any unnecessary use of colour, and leave your Dashboard looking clean and clear.

6. Avoid using 3D effects

3D charts may seem like a good idea, but, in reality, they can make it more complicated to determine exact values on a chart or Visualization.

This problem is highlighted by the example of a 3D bar chart below. The difficulty arises in determining which part of the bar is actually the “top” value, and this may create confusion between users.

7. Give users more freedom to manipulate the data

Once you have mastered the content and aesthetic design of your Dashboard, it is important to think about how it will actually be used. There are a number of factors that you should consider in relation to how users will interact with your Dashboard, and the features that they may expect to be present.

Many Dashboards are relatively static and simply present users with data without allowing them to explore further or take action. It is important to provide a flexible Dashboard that gives users more freedom in what they can do with the data. One example of this may be the ability to drill down further into the information to gain a more in-depth insight.

If you are interested in knowing more about building better dashboards download our free E-book below.

About Matillion

Matillion deliver cloud business intelligence solutions that are powerful but easy to use. Solutions that are low cost, low risk and fast to implement.

Their goal is to make the power of Enterprise Business Intelligence, which corporate companies have used for years, pervasive in medium sized business – helping unlock profitability.

Based in Cheshire, UK, their team of development experts, business analysts, management accountants and support staff design and deliver Matillion BI.

Follow them on Twitter - @matillion

Article originally posted here.

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