Five examples of poorly designed dashboards

The purpose of dashboards is to present large amounts of information in a condensed and visual way. Here are five examples of poorly designed dashboards, that break some or all of the prinsiples of good dashboard design.

The purpose of dashboards is to present large amounts of information in a condensed and visual way. Here are five examples of poorly designed dashboards, that break some or all of the prinsiples of good dashboard design.

London City Dashboard

http://citydashboard.org/london/

 

The problems with this dashboard are:

  • It presents too much information, looks cluttered, and readers don’t know where to look at first. The eyes are pretty much not guided at all.
  • There are way too many colors, without apparent meaningful purpose, and it’s not clear if or how similar the colors relate to each other. The colors further compete with the data and draw away attention from the real content.
  • The information is organized in such a way that it’s not really clear how the different pieces of data are related to each other. This is made even worse through the color scheme. Many pieces of data are highlighted in a color that occurs multiple times on this dashboard, making it appear as if the data is related, when in fact it isn’t
  • The information cannot be immediately understood. It takes a while to comprehend what you are actually looking at.
  • Although I think that for most parts it is best to use the spelled out descriptions, some of the data would be easier understood if icons would be used, such as for weather, public transport, bikes, airport, etc. Without icons some of the information is mistaken for something else at first glance. For example the available bikes first appears as a piece of financial information. On the contrary: the weather forecast in the top right corner use graphics that are too detailed, and seem to disappear in the clutter 
  • It’s not clear how the data was generated, there is no way to drill down deeper.

 

AdTrack

https://blogs.adatis.co.uk/blogs/timkent/WindowsLiveWriter/GreatDashboardDesign_14332/baddash_2.jpg

The problems with this dashboard:

  • This example takes the term “dashboard” way too literal.
  • Aesthetically unpleasant to the eye, and not engaging
  • Space is not used economically
  • Visual representations that don’t add any value or additional insights
  • The theme makes readers misinterpret the data they are looking at. You might be looking at speed, instead of sales numbers.
  • The large pie charts draw so much attention, need a legend and are competing with the numeric values which are actually more important and insightful.
  • The traffic light in the top right corner creates cognitive dissonance with readers
  • Metaphors in general do not work

 

Celsius dashboard

http://www.matillion.com/uploads/2015/01/bad-dashboard-examples-3.png

The problems with this dashboard:

  • The information presented is not very clear, for example the pie chart needs the legend on the right which makes it difficult to intprepret the data you are looking at.
  • The styling particularly on the pie chart is distracting and makes the pie segments harder to read and ultimately difficult to comprehend.

 

Dundas Call Center dashboard example

http://www.dundas.com/gallery/sample-dashboards/#market-intelligence-call-centre-dashboard

The problems with this dashboard are:

  • Overall the graphics of the gauges compete with the actual information they are supposed to represent. A legend is required to interpret the data.
  • Although there is a date picker, and the gauges indicate an average of historic data, there is no evolution over time, and no trending to interpret that would give more insights into things
  • The call center quadrant perfomance is puzzling as it’s not clear how many minutes are spent on successfull and on dropped calls. Besides the styling of the bubbles in the quadrant combined with the color palette make the graph difficult to read.
  • The icons for threshold and the threshold are in general unclear. What does a star mean? A bar graph could support the percentage that is being displayed in relation to the count of total calls.
  • Trying to understand for example which call center has the highest traffic, is left to the reader who has to make the comparison herself.

 

Dundas Mobile Product Sales dashboard

http://www.dundas.com/gallery/sample-dashboards/#mobile-product-sales-dashboard

The problems with this dashboard:

  • The treemap in the top left corner are difficult to read, as the text does not fit into smaller rectangles, it is turned by 90 degrees
  • The color values are too similar, and hard to distinguish, and interpret. What does it mean when a region has a lighter shade of blue?
  • It’s difficult to say which region creates teh most market share.

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