There’s an awful lot of talk around interactive dashboards lately.
Most of it is about how they can instantaneously show you valuable information about a business and all via self-service analytics. It seems everyone has built a dashboard and consider themselves either dashboard rookie or dashboard craftsman.
A dummy’s guide to …
There are plenty of tutorials across the internet on how to build dashboards using Power BI or Tableau. We have plenty of the same on our blog page!
It is true to a degree that you can create a successful business dashboard with any of these tools. All of them are pretty straightforward to use, most of the time.
They do give you a false impression that building good quality and valuable dashboard will be simple and easy. So easy, you’ll nail it first time.
…a disappointing dashboarding experience
But anyone who’s been building dashboards for a few years will sympathise with the disappointment, then frustration that follows as the complexity of the task hits home. You get close but just not close enough.
Things start to get complicated when you have to build something specific to your own data, with no tutorial or pre-shaped data to help you in the process.
You have to think about how the data must be shaped, what information you can extract from it, how to turn it into knowledge. Perhaps the hardest bit is knowing how to present it in a simple and yet elegant way that engages your audience.
The three kinds of dashboards
There are plenty of skilled dashboard creators out there who deliver beautiful dashboards to look at but fail to hit the mark when it comes to hitting the brief.
There are others who deliver amazing, ground-breaking insights but their dashboards are overcrowded and way too busy to easily understand.
Finally, there are the dashboard aficionados who can perfectly balance the simplicity and the complexity. Who put together the right amount of information and knowledge, with a great design that has amazing visual appeal.
So how do you deliver an informative dashboard, clean, spot-on, and jaw-dropping at the same time?
There are three kinds of dashboarders
We believe there are three learning stages on dashboard creating skills.
The dashboard rookie
The ones who deliver exactly what the data is providing them, with no added information or knowledge, other than just summaries and simple statements.
At this stage, they build simple and reasonably good-looking dashboards and are learning how to tell a story, they’re exploring their tools and building their knowledge. However, their dashboards are more exploratory than explanatory, leaving the audience with more questions than answers.
Read about the dashboard rookie here: Do you consider yourself a dashboard rookie?
The dashboard expert
These experts are in the process of mastering information extraction from data. They tell the story that needs to be told and tell it in a way that the audience gets it in a few seconds. Finally, a dashboard that explains this situation!
These more complex dashboards are full of information, easy to use and elegant. Yet something is missing and you can’t quite put your finger on it. It’s hit the brief, but at the same time, it hasn’t.
Read about the dashboard expert here: You are a dashboard expert. So what!?
The dashboard craftsman
These are the ones who bring the best of both worlds together. These guys don’t tell stories, they sell them.
They know how to balance things perfectly and create a dashboard that is both engaging and insightful.
They can make complex dashboards visually simple and easy to understand with no further clarification other than the dashboard itself. Their dashboards are succinct yet full of valuable information, shown in a clean and effective way.
Read about the dashboard craftsman here: The technical makeup of a dashboard craftsman
Are you a dashboard rookie or dashboard craftsman?
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter where you are on your journey.
What matters is you are forever moving forward!