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With Dashboards - Formatting and Layout Definitely Matter

In this paper, Stephen Few covered nine dashboard design problems that used dashboard solutions.

Dashboards can keep people well informed of what's going on, but most barely scratch the surface of their potential. Most dashboards communicate too little, and what they display, they display poorly. This is primarily a failure of design. To present information in a way that people can rapidly monitor, fully understand, and effectively respond to, we cannot format the appearance of information nor lay it out on the screen in just "any ol' way." Dashboards are usually required to display a great deal of somewhat disparate information in a limited amount of space (a single screen). It is challenging to squeeze all this information onto the screen without ending up with a cluttered mess. To avoid this unfortunate outcome, we must follow visual design principles for formatting and arranging information on the screen. We must organize information into meaningful groups and do so in a way that features what's most important. Even aspects of design that you might assume are unimportant, such as the positioning and sizing of items on the screen, can dramatically undermine the effectiveness of a dashboard when visual design principles are ignored.


Stephen Few Principal, Perceptual Edge Stephen Few has worked for 2 years as an IT innovator, consultant, and teacher. Today, as Principal of the consultancy Perceptual Edge, Few focuses on data visualization for analyzing and communicating quantitative business information. He provides consulting and training services, writes the monthly Visual Business Intelligence Newsletter, speaks frequently at conferences, and teaches in the MBA program at the University of California, Berkeley.
Corda Technologies
12 Sep 2008
11 Sep 2008
12 Page(s)
White Paper

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