Dashboard Design: What is dashboard?

Discover how to design a usable dashboard.
This can be done only when you know the anatomy and basics of dashboards.

What is Dashboard - Hero Image

Dashboards are the mode of communication. They provide the powerful insight to the data which enable people to do the informed decisions. However, after observing dashboards so far, I came to know that it is not an easy task, and so far the dashboard design is still a challenge, thus the title of this article. I will try to answers those challenges which I learn due to my experiences working for small and big corporation.

Dashboards type

There are three types of dashboards:

  1. Strategic Dashboards
  2. Analytical/Tactical Dashboards
  3. Operational Dashboards

Strategic Dashboards

They are also known as “highest-level management dashboard”, they are connected with the balanced scorecard methodology invented by David Norton and Robert Kaplan, it means a way of looking at your organization that focuses on your big-picture strategic goals. These type of dashboards are used by the highest level of company’s hierarchy. Following are the main ingredients of the Strategic Dashboards:

a. KPI Metrics Scorecard
b. Target Analysis vs. Actual Analysis
c. And recommended actions

Analytical/Tactical Dashboards

Think of them “tracker” dashboard, they are used to keep an eye on company’s goal and initiative. They help us to measure the defined goal values from the actual implementation of them. Following are the core ingredients of the Analytical/Tactical Dashboards:

a. Forecast vs. Actual values.
b. Trace the history.
c. Volatility and Trend.

Operational Dashboards

They are “department” specific dashboards, they have more detailed insight and main focus is on day-to-day task, think of them as a microscope of company’s daily flow. Following are the important ingredients of Operational Dashboards:

a. Process oriented analysis.
b. Current Trends and Fluctuation.

These dashboard if you see from bird-eye view are all integral, what we learned today is dashboards requires the deep understanding of the target users, and then present the data according to their need. And what type of action is needed for different type of users.

This is the first part in the series of “Dashboard Design” series. Next topic will be “Dashboard Design: What are the fundamental challenges of dashboard design?”.

Are you struggling with the idea of Dashboard Design? What are you challenges? Let’s have a conversation.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Mudassir Azeemi. I help tech startups design better digital products without hiring a full-time designer.

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