Last modified: August 09, 2021

“The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see.” —John Tukey, Mathematician

Without looking at data how do people make decisions?

They base it on their past experience and their understanding of a scenario. This approach used to be required since data was hard to get and understand. However data has become much more accessible:

  • We are able to get data from all parts of our business
  • We can store tons of data cheaply
  • Many tools exist to easily extract, transform, and visualize data

Dashboards cannot change people’s past experience but they can surface data to help improve someone’s understanding of the scenario to help them make better decisions. Dashboards are the link between the data people (people like you) and the business people. This book shows how design thinking can be used to create highly impactful dashboards to help business people make data driven decisions in your organization.

Applying design thinking to dashboards can be challenging. Business Intelligence tools have made it all too easy to create visualizations and dashboards. It is tempting to start building multiple dashboards right away to help people. However without fully investing in defining the problems, stakeholders, and metrics or prototyping ideal designs the dashboard is likely to be ineffective. Spending time in the Define and Prototyping stages will help any dashboard designer produce dashboards that get used more by their audience because it will be well suited to the decisions that audience needs to make.

This book will quickly introduce you to what dashboards are, what makes them useful, and an overview of best practices for dashboard design. Then it will spend the bulk of the book going through the design thinking process for dashboards:

dashboard design process: Define>Prototype>Build>Deploy

This book will provide resources and examples to aid you at every step of the process. Use this book to improve your own dashboard skills and use it as a reference for new analysts that join your organization.

Written by: Matt David
Reviewed by: Andrew Dudley , Mike Yi , Dave Fowler