1 Best Practices for Effective DASHBOARD DOCTOR SESSION Dashboards

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1 Best Practices for Effective DASHBOARD DOCTOR SESSION Dashboards Katie Poznanski-Ring, Butler University Dawit Gelan, Indiana University

2 What is a dashboard? "A dashboard is a visual display of the most important information to achieve one or more objectives; consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance." Stephen Few

Good Dashboards 3

Bad Dashboards 4

Best Practices for Effective Dashboards 1. Identify your goal 2. Design for the real world 3. Choose metrics that matter 4. Keep it visual 5. Build in functionality 6. Avoid chart junk 7. Follow the 4 C’s of Visualization 8. Finalize with Tableau’s dashboard checklist 5

1. Identify your goal 6 Know your purpose and audience/consumer Know your dashboard type Strategic: executive, high-level Operational: immediate use, sales information, pulse Analytic: drill-down, highly interactive What value will the dashboard add? Does the dashboard. .help management define what is important? .educate people in the organization about the things that matter? .set goals and expectations for specific individuals or groups? .help executives sleep at night because they know what’s going on? .encourage specific actions in a timely manner? .highlight exceptions and provide alerts when problems occur? .communicate progress and success? .provide a common interface for interacting with and analyzing important business data?

2. Design for the real world Author at your final display size Limit the number of views to three or four (unless there is an absolute need) Implement an iterative improvement process based on user feedback 7

3. Choose metrics that matter 8 Metrics must be relevant to the goal. Ask the following questions when deciding which metrics to include in your dashboard: i. How does each metric contribute to those objectives? ii.Do you have data, either internal or external, that can shed light on the objectives? iii.Can you design a meaningful metric that measures those contributions? iv.Is this metric truly necessary to contribute to the objectives? v.Can you build a systematic and on-going means of measurement?

4. Keep it visual 9 Cognition & Visual Perception Gestalt Theory & Design Principals Color choice Design for Accessibility: avoid red-green and 'stop light' palette (redyellow-green) Stay on-brand and on-theme (online color palette tools make this easy) Font choice Chart choice White space Information grouping Most important data on X and Y axes; encode less important data in color or shape attributes Pre-Attentive Attributes / Enduring Dispositions Make it easy for your audience to understand your message

Cognition & Visual Perception 10 Vision is among our keenest senses Our brains process visual information faster and more efficiently than text Our visual system has been processing information long before language was ever developed Chart v Tabular data presentation – which do you prefer?

Pre-Attentive Attributes / Enduring Dispositions Color Form VS 11

Gestalt Theory & Design Principals 12 Theory The mind is constantly trying to make sense of the world; when the human mind (perceptual system) forms a percept or "gestalt", the whole has a reality of its own, independent of the parts. Principals (8): Proximity (objects close to each other are perceived as a group) Similarity (elements tend to be integrated into groups if they are similar to each other) Enclosure (objects with a boundary surrounding them are perceived to belong together)

13 Gestalt Examples Reification Illusory contours Constructive or generative aspect of perception, by which the experienced percept contains more explicit spatial information than the sensory stimulus on which it is based. The whole is other than the sum of the parts Multistability (Multistable Perception) / Figure-Ground Articulation Tendency of ambiguous perceptual experiences to pop back and forth unstably between two or more alternative interpretations. E.g. Necker cube and Rubin's Figure/Vase illusion

14 Color Choice Limit to 7 or less colors VS

Design for Accessibility Color Vision Deficiency (color blindness) affects 10% population 15

Stay On-Brand / On-Theme 16 Utilize online color palette generators

Font Choice Avoid scripts: Recommended fonts 17

Choose the Right Chart Type Trends over Time: line chart Comparison & Ranking: bar chart Correlation: scatterplot Distribution: box plot Likert Scale: divergent bar chart 18

19 Avoid Pie Charts Much harder for humans to differentiate differences in circles or angles than lines VS

5. Build in functionality Add interactivity to encourage exploration Drill-downs o Allow users to go from a summary metric/view to deeper detail that provides more context and/or breakout of the information. Show filters and parameters Enable highlighting Action filters Tooltips 20

6. Avoid chart junk 21 Unless it serves a purpose, don't include it i. E.g. 3D effects, image overload, chart shading, label overload Prioritize data-to-ink ratio Resist temptation to use purely decorative chart types Avoid chart overload

7. Follow the 4 C’s of Visualization 1. Clarity Defined audience, clear message, ease of understanding 2. Concise Balance minimalism with detail, brevity with comprehensiveness 3. Captivating Attracts and holds attention, is interesting 4. Catalyst Prompts action 22

8. Tableau check list 23 1. What questions are you trying to answer? Does this visualization answer all of your questions? Is the purpose of the visualization clearly explained in its title or surrounding text? Can you understand the visualization in 30 seconds or less, without additional information? Does your visualization include a title? Is that title simple, informative, and eye-catching? Does your visualization include subtitles to guide your viewers? 2. Do you have the right chart type for your analysis? What types of analysis are you performing? Have you selected the most suitable chart type(s) for your types of analysis? Have you considered alternative chart types that could work better than the ones you have chosen? 3. Are your views effective? Are your most important data shown on the X- and Y-axes and your less important data encoded in color or shape attributes? Are your views oriented intuitively—do they cater to the way your viewers read and perceive data? Have you limited the number of measures or dimensions in a single view

8. Tableau check list (cont.) 24 4. Is your dashboard holistic? Do all your views fit together to tell a single story? Do all your views flow well from one to the next? Are they in a good order? Do your most important views appear in the top or top-left corner? Are secondary elements in your dashboard placed well so they support the views without interrupting them? Are your filters in the right locations? Do your filters work correctly? Do views become blank or downright confusing if you apply a filter? Do your filters apply to the right scope? Are your filter titles informative? Can viewers easily understand how to interactive with your filters? Are your legends close to the views they apply to? Is your legend highlight button set to “on” or “off” according to your preference? Do you have filter, highlight or URL actions? If so, do they work? Are your legends and filters grouped and placed intuitively? Do you have scrollbars in your views? If so, are they acceptable ones? Are your views scrunched? Do your views fit consistently well when you apply filters? 5. Did you perfect your work? Do all the colors on your dashboard go together without clashing? Do you have less than 7-10 colors on your dashboards? Do you use fonts consistently in all of your views and no more than three different fonts on one dashboard? Are you labels clear and concise? Are they placed optimally to help guide your viewers? Make sure subtitles are formatted to be subordinate to the main title. Are you tooltips informative? Do they have the right format so that they’re easy for viewers to use?

Sources 2 5 Best Practices for Effective Dashboards (Tableau Manual) 5 Best Practices for Creating Effective Dashboards (Tableau) A Guide to Creating Dashboards People Love to Use Stephen Few: Dashboard Formatting & Layout Visual Analysis Best Practices Simple Techniques for Making Every Data Visualization Useful and Beautiful The Big Book of Dashboards: Visualizing Your Data Using Real-World B usiness Scenarios Essential Design Principles for Tableau (Coursera)

THANK YOU! 2 6 Katie Poznanski-Ring, Butler University [email protected] Dawit Gelan, Indiana University [email protected]

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