effective dashboards

Effective Dashboards – What to Measure and How to Show It

Are you wondering, “What Makes Dashboard Effective?”. Effective dashboards are intuitive, insightful and facilitate decision-making. In this article, we will cover what to measure when building dashboards and how to show what you measure to your target audience.


Effective Dashboards – What to Measure and How to Show It

Here’s how to build effective dashboards for your business, clients and customers.


What to Measure for Effective Dashboards

The first step towards building effective dashboards to determine what to measure for your dashboards. There are 2 parts to it

  1. Know Your Audience
  2. Pick the Right type of Dashboard


Know Your Audience

Different people have different reporting requirements and it is essential to clearly understand your audience to be able to create effective dashboards for them. Here are key questions you should ask your self when you set out to build a dashboard

  • Who will use your dashboard?
  • How will your help your audience?
  • What information are they looking for?

Make sure you identify and organize your target audience into different user groups. Don’t create a single dashboard for everyone. Different people have different information requirements.

For example, executives look for high-level summaries while operational managers look for tactical details.

Bonus Read : What to Include in Executive Dashboards


Choose the Right Dashboard Type

Did you know there are 3 types of dashboards  – each meant for a different audience and serving a different purpose.

  • Strategic Dashboards – High-level dashboards used to track performance of business strategies against goals, discover growth areas. Used mainly by executives and the C-suite. Avoid showing granular details in strategic dashboards
  • Analytical Dashboards – Analytical dashboards are data-heavy dashboards meant for data analysis, investigate business questions posed by executives and make forecasts. It includes trends, comparisons, distributions and historical data. Analytical dashboards are used by data analysts and managers
  • Operational Dashboards – Operational dashboards are the most common dashboards used to monitor day-to-day operations. They also contain daily/weekly/monthly trends of KPIs to help you track business operations regularly.

Evaluate different dashboard types and pick the right type of dashboard for your audience.

Bonus Read : How to Create a Dashboard For Your Business


How to Show What You Measure

It is equally important to present what you measure in the right way. Otherwise, it will only misguide and confuse your target audience.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you display what you measure on your dashboards.


1. Layout Important Metrics at the top

First of all, include only relevant, important or urgent metrics in your dashboard. Organize them such that the most important & urgent ones are at the top, followed by relevant ones.

Here’s a simple framework to help you organize your metrics on your dashboard

urgent important matrix

2. Group Related Metrics Together

Placing related metrics nearby can enable users to easily compare them, analyze trends and draw insights quickly.

There are many ways to group metrics on your dashboard. You can group them by functional area (sales, marketing, hr, customer support, IT, etc), product, campaign, region, team, brand.

Bonus Read : Top Ecommerce KPIs & Metrics


3. Choose the Right Visualization

The most effective dashboard design best practice is to choose the right visualization. For example, in which of the following visualizations, is it easy to spot the sales trend?

choose right visualization

The sales trend is obvious in the bar chart but completely obscure in the pie chart.

Bonus Read : What are the Components of a Successful Dashboard


4. Add Context to Numbers

Graphs & Numbers are meaningless without appropriate context. Which of the following bar charts is easier to understand?

chart context

Use titles, footnotes, data labels, axes labels and other text-based elements to tell more about your charts & numbers.


Hopefully, the above dashboard design tips and best practices will help yo build effective dashboards for your business. If you want to create business dashboards, reports & charts, you can try Ubiq. We offer a 14-day free trial!


About Ubiq

Ubiq is a powerful dashboard & reporting platform. Build dashboards, charts & reports for your business in minutes. Try it for free!