how to create data visualization dashboard

How to Create Data Visualization Dashboard

Data Visualization dashboards help you visualize data, get business insights and make better decisions. Here’s how to create data visualization dashboard for your business. You can use these dashboards to get at-a-glance status of your business and track business performance against goals.


How to Create Data Visualization Dashboard

Here are the steps to create data visualization dashboard.


1. Determine Your KPIs

The first step to create data visualization dashboard is to clearly identify the KPIs you need to display in it. Conduct 2-3 rounds of meetings with your target users ad stakeholders to find out which metrics they need to do their jobs better. Classify them into 3 groups:

  1. Metrics that they already track and need no change. You can report them as-is and require minimal effort
  2. Metrics that they already track and need to be modified (e.g measurement period, calculation, etc).
  3. New metrics that need to tracked. These would require maximum effort.

This will help you quickly understand which metrics can be reported easily and which ones require more effort. Get a sign off from the stakeholders to freeze the requirements


Bonus Read : Effective Dashboards – What to Measure & How to Display


2. Choose the Right Visualization

Once you have identified KPIs, it is important to choose the right visualization for each KPI, to present information is the most lucid manner.

Otherwise, you might confuse or even misguide the user. Look at the 2 visualizations below. In which visualization, is it is easy to spot the sales trend?

choose right visualization


The sales fluctuation is obvious in the bar chart, while it is difficult to determine in the pie chart.

Here’s a simple diagram to help you decide the right kind of visualization, depending on the information you want to display.

choose right visualization


Bonus Read : What Are the Components of a Successful Dashboard


3. Pick the Right Dashboard Type

There are 3 main types of dashboards – strategic, analytical, operational – each one meant for a different target audience and serves a unique purpose.

  • Strategic dashboards – Meant for Executives and C-suite employees. Contains high-level summaries to help senior management measure strategy performance and discover new growth areas
  • Analytical dashboards – Data-heavy dashboards meant for data analysts and business analysts. Used for investigative research and analysis. Contains a lot of filters and drill-downs
  • Operational dashboards – Most commonly used dashboards that contain operational metrics to help managers with day-to-day operations.

When you create data visualization dashboard, it is important to choose the right dashboard type to display your KPI metrics. Only then it will be relevant to your users. For example, an executive may not be interested in granular details and tactical numbers, but will look for high-level trends.

Bonus Read : What to Include in Executive Dashboard


4. Design Your Data Visualization Dashboard

Next, organize your KPI metrics on your data visualization dashboard. Organize your KPIs into 3-4 layers. Place the most important and urgent KPI summaries on top, followed by 1-2 layers of trends, comparisons and distributions. The bottom layer can have detailed data tables and granular information.

Use a dashboard software to quickly create dashboard mock ups with sample data. Here’s a sample data visualization dashboard created using Ubiq.

sample dashboard created using ubiq analytics


Bonus Read : How to Improve Your Dashboard Design


5. Provide Context for Each Visualization

Once you have designed your dashboard, it’s time to add some finishing touches. You can make your data visualization dashboard a lot more insightful by making your charts & graphs easy to understand.

You can do this by clearly defining the context in which the users need to see your KPI metrics. Here are simple tips to help clearly communicate the data context.

  • Use Descriptive Titles that explain what your visualization is about
  • Include axis labels to describe what X-axis and Y-axis stand for
  • Add footnotes to clearly mention caveats and assumptions
  • Make sure the entries in chart legend are intuitive
  • If your chart elements such as pie slices have values that are very close, consider adding data labels to clearly distinguish between them

All these little changes have a great effect on how your user perceives information. Without context, it can be difficult for users to make sense of your data visualizations.

Look at the 2 visualizations below. Which one is easier to understand?

chart context

The chart on the right is more descriptive and lucid.

That’s it! Hopefully you can create data visualization dashboard for your business, and help users make better decisions faster. If you want to create business dashboards, reports & charts, you can try Ubiq. We offer a 14-day free trial!


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