Design features that make or break a dashboard design

Certain design features should be avoided to improve the meaningfulness of a dashboards. Here are some of the good and bad practices.

Design features that make dashboards more meaningful are:

  • using the available space ergonomically and considerably,
  • presenting the extract of raw data as summaries,
  • avoiding visual graphics when they don’t add any value, in particular circular diagrammatic representations
  • avoiding any optical illusions that can distort the way data is interpreted by readers
  • connecting data that is related,
  • proper spatial arrangement with the most relevant information in the top, and top left corner, the least relevant information in the bottom right
  • avoiding display of data to fill up white space, it’s better to leave it blanc


Design features, that can break dashboards are:

  • Inappropriate use of space
  • Forcing users to interact with the dashboard and scroll
  • Inclusion of graphics for purely decorative purposes
  • Not providing summaries
  • Forcing users to cognitive tasks such as calculating values, or wading through data
  • Not structuring the content
  • Not using the appropriate display
  • Including data that is unnecessary, meaningless, and adds no value
  • Use of color that is assigned randomly and unsystematic across various displays
  • Use of too much color
  • Including diagrammatic representations that can lead to optical illusions such as the Delboef illusion

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