7 mistakes you don’t want to make while designing Business Dashboards

This is an extract from a White Paper, “Top 5 best practices for creating effective campaign dashboards and the 7 mistakes you don’t want to make” by Tableau Software.

  1. Starting off with too much complexity.
    It’s easy to get overly ambitious and want to provide highly detailed, real-time dashboards covering each and every marketing challenge that also allow users to customize in multiple dimensions. But instead of spending multiple weeks or even months working through your first iteration, you’ll be better off working through several short cycles of prototype, test and adjust.
  2. Using metrics no one understands.
    Your marketing metrics are probably so familiar to you that even something as simple as “conversion rate” seems obvious in its definition. But the reality is, your dashboard needs to use metrics or concepts that your broader audience understands.
  3. Cluttering the dashboard with unimportant graphics and unintelligible widgets.
    Keep your dashboard simple in its visual appeal. Resist the temptation to make your dashboard too flashy or over-designed, with gauge-like graphics and widgets. As pretty as those may seem, they get in the way with your dashboard’s objective: rapidly and easily informing your audience.
  4. Waiting for complex technology and big BI deployment projects.
    Sure, some of traditional Business Intelligence tools provide fancy capabilities that are nice to have. But marketing departments are often on the bottom of the IT priority list so waiting for the BI project to materialize may mean months or years of delay. Fortunately, there are dashboard tools and strategies that can get you going now.
  5. Underestimating the time or resources to create and maintain the dashboard.
    Because a dashboard is typically one page or one screen, it is easy to assume that it should be quick and simple to create and maintain. But in fact, a dashboarding project takes on-going resources to design, launch and maintain.
  6. Failing to match metrics to the goal.
    Often, working dashboards showcase the activities of the marketing department. Instead, your dashboard should connect your marketing efforts to your organization’s actual goals and objectives.
  7. Using ineffective, poorly designed graphs and charts.
    Take care in how you design your graphs and charts. For example, 3D offers no increase in viewer comprehension. Garish colors can interfere with interpretation. Choosing a pie chart for more than 6 values makes the graphic virtually impossible to read. There are clear principles for designing good data visualizations; see our resource list for a guide.