Some time ago, I wanted to start a serie of blog posts about “Best Practices in Viz Design”… Let’s start and continue that for real! My aim would be to write at least 1 or 2 blogs per month about it.
In this blog post I want to give you a few tips about dashboard design, useful if you are in the process of creating a style or a template for your dashboard within your organisation or for a client.
Why best practices in designing a dashboard (or a chart) are so important?
Because you want to send a clear message and you do not want people struggling to understand the charts and the meaning.
Imagine that you want to show sales by subcategory to your client,“The Viz Connoisseur” (I am just using Sample Superstore in Tableau).
A lot of organisations love pie charts. To be honest, I am not a fan, but I am not against them (if used well).
In the example above, the pie chart is used in a bad way… Without numbers, it would be impossible to see the difference between the grey slice of Phones and the green slice of Chairs. Too many slices and colours, also the absence of sorting makes it even more difficult to read. Here the message is misleading and unclear!
What about the view above?
It’s clear and effective, you can understand in a second what’s going on with sales by category. No need of colours, because the labels for each item are there, no need of tooltip because the sales labels are shown and actually… if you show the labels, there is no need of axis!!
TIPS TO DEFINE THE STYLE OF YOUR DASHBOARD
To define the style for your dashboard, you could look at:
- the power point template
- the annual report on the website
- the website
of your organisation or your client, in order to find out about:
- the logo to use (make sure to use a .png, bacause it does not have a background colour)
- the font
- the colours
For example, to find out about the font from the website of your client, just right click on a page where there is some text and select “Inspect” as below:
This action will open the html and help you to find out about the style as below:
Colours are also important and you can use this website to pick the HEX code.
Then, you can create colours palette editing the tableau preference file and adding your custom palettes in it:
After that, you can use the font, logo and colours on your dashboard/ viz to brand it.
Other things to think about – I will write about them in the next blogs – would be to find a place for filters and colour legends, if there are any, more tips about dashboards and also about chart types, some tips about mobile design, etc.
I hope you found this first blog post about tips on design useful!