Dashboard Design Process: Part 1

Dashboard Design Process: Part 1


A business dashboard is a living thing that evolves with the needs of the users, as well as the availability and quality of the data. To ensure your dashboard never becomes irrelevant, inaccurate or without value, we have developed a simple process - The Dashboard Design Process.


Why not jump in and start to build your dashboards right away? Within an enterprise with multiple stakeholders, technology costs, this process can reduce risk that would otherwise have significant impact down the road. Fixing user requirement issues during design is far less costly that waiting until development. Additionally, if a poor dashboard loses your users trust, it is hard to regain that trust.


Applying these techniques to analytics can help you can create a successful dashboard. The steps include:


1. Knowing your users and stakeholders

2. Understanding your data

3. Wireframing the end vision

4. Building and applying best practices

5. Driving adoption

6. Repeat for the living dashboard


1. Know your users and stakeholders


For a dashboard to serve the needs of the business and the end users, you need to talk to anyone that can or will be involved. A good representation from each of the following groups is advisable:


Leadership and business owners of the dashboard

End users of the dashboard

Custodians of the data

Dashboard developers


Getting answers to the following questions, tweaked by role, will help understand objectives, reduce risks and gain valuable information on potential roadblocks: 


What is your role and what do you do day to day?

What are your objectives and goals?

How can this dashboard make your life easier?

How do you currently access this data?

What are your current challenges in doing so?

What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) do you currently use?

What KPIs would you like to see?


2. Understand your data


The more in-depth you get the better, but even knowledge of what tables and columns are available is important. Understanding data quality is recommended but can be tackled in later iterations of the process. What is vital, though, is having someone that works closely with the data involved in the details and speaking to the state of the data.


Get the database schema, as well as the schemas of any other data sources. Run through what columns have sufficient data quality for the first iteration of the dashboard. Sufficient quality is subjective, but it should be enough to build user confidence in the numbers. Devise a plan for the data that is not of high enough quality to improve it for later iterations of the dashboard.


3. Wireframe the end vision


The next step of this process is to workshop your dashboard and begin the design process. It is critical to get as many of the users and stakeholders into a room as possible to settle on what is going to be solved in addition to surfacing obstacles and risks.


This process revolves around personas for each of the user groups. This is where you leverage the work from step 1. It’s typical to have one to three primary personas. The key here is to surface what questions each persona wants answered and how/if the data is there to answer it.


Then begins the tricky process of mapping these questions to a series of charts where each should satisfy several criteria:

What question is it answering?

What is the subsequent action?

Is the data sufficiently reliable for this phase?


To mock up the dashboard, the easiest way would be to use the Enterprise Dashboard Process kit. Get more information here:


A ½ day workshop is also available to dive deeper into the dashboard process. The output of the workshop is a series of dashboard wireframes aligned to personas, and a plan to finalize the wireframes. For more information or to sign up for the workshop, click here: https://www.logic2020.com/dashboard-design-training


To continue your process with steps 4-6 read the blog Dashboard Design Process: Part 2. 



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