Dashboard design: test and review

by Daniel Watt

Good dashboard design involves feedback loop between the designer and the final user. If you ask your user for general feedback they may focus on more the look and feel when the dashboard is not succeeding in more important aspects.  So rather that general feedback , I suggest questioning your user along three main lines:

  1. Can you achieve your objectives using the information displayed? If the objective is to spot threats and opportunities for the business then is there needs to be sufficient information displayed to enable a decision about further action.
  2. Can you easily spot things that need attention? The pertinent information may be present on the dashboard, but if it is not clear in terms of position (the eye starts at the top left of the screen), colour or size then threats or opportunities may not be spotted as easily as the could be.
  3. Are the groupings of information obvious? You may have grouped data by colour, shape and position.  If there are too many groupings, then these may not be obvious to the user.  If colours or shapes used are too similar then the cognitive load is increased for the user and they may assume that data points are grouped together when you didn’t intend them to be.

Whether the user responds positively or negatively, make sure you dig deeper. For example, if they claim the grouping of information is obvious then ask them to point out what goes with what. If major changes are needed, come back to the user with a redesign and run through these questions again.

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