• Votes for this article no votes for this yet
  • Dashboard Insight Newsletter Sign Up

Secrets of Good and Valid Report Design

by Hrvoje Smolic, Owner/Partner, Qualia d.o.o.Monday, November 04, 2013

Creating a nice looking, but valid report in the sense that it communicate business information with elegance and accuracy is not always an easy task. The most important stuff is, of course, the data. It should be represented with the help of several visual design principles. They should present information to the readers in a manner that highlights what is most important. Every set of numbers has a message buried within, and it is task of report designer to present that message. But in this blog I want to emphasize other components of good report, other then data itself.

Report creator

At first it does not sound like something of great importance, but lacking a report creator name in a big company could be a problem. It is not a question of vanity, but of need. When external consultants come to a company and they are presented with several reports, they will probably want to know who made them in order to ask that person for some clarifications.

Tile

A good report title is very important. It enables the reader that in a glance he/she knows what the report contains and what it is about. It is very convenient for the title to include short description about information, key dimensions and measures involved. If you see report with the title “GeneralLedger”, it will not be enough to describe actual report. Instead, the title should be something like “2011 Balance Sheet by Companies”. That way, the report can be differentiated among others.

Time

A good report title is very important. It enables the reader that in a glance he/she knows what the report contains and what it is about. It is very convenient for the title to include short description about information, key dimensions and measures involved. If you see report with the title “GeneralLedger”, it will not be enough to describe actual report. Instead, the title should be something like “2011 Balance Sheet by Companies”. That way, the report can be differentiated among others.

Very important piece of information could be when the data was collected? That means, when was the data that I am looking at refreshed from the data warehouse, ERP, CRM … system? Often there are transactions that are inserted in the database in the past, afterwards. At this point it is important to know the date when the information is collected.

Page Numbers

Every report must have page numbers. Readers simply have to know where they are what reading a complex report. The format page # / ## works the best because that way readers know exactly how long the report is. Today many reports circulate around in digital format, so there is no sense of how big report is (by sensing how thick a pile of paper is). That makes pagination even more important. Another useful thing is that without page numbers, it is almost impossible to explain to someone where in the report you want them to look more closely.

All those information should be easy to include in every report header and / or footer so it is available on every page. Remember that report is made to be read by someone else.

About the author

Hrvoje Smolić is the Owner and Managing Director at Qualia d.o.o. He is responsible for all parts of the planning and development strategies, as well as for continually improving processes to fulfill the mission. As Creative Director he develops and oversees the overall look of applications, using design principles to organize their content and ensure full user-application communication. He defines their structure, information design and interface.
Before founding Qualia, Hrvoje had seven years of experience in the IT community. He began his career developing commercial applications for the banks, with client-server programming and relational database modeling in the role of business analyst in the company Vestigo. Later, as employee at Adacta he started as a consultant for Business Intelligence (BI), and then moved to position as Head of BI and CRM team, BI project manager and as a product manager. He has a degree in Physics from Zagreb University and is currently on PhD.

Tweet article    Stumble article    Digg article    Buzz article    Delicious bookmark      Dashboard Insight RSS Feed
 
Other articles by this author

Discussion:

No comments have been posted yet.

Site Map | Contribute | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Dashboard Insight © 2017