Dashboards are a popular way to get information out to members of an organization. According to Stephen Few, a leading user interface dashboard expert, “(a) dashboard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives, consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance" (Few, Stephen. “Information Dashboard Design.” 2nd Ed. Analytics Press (Burlingame, CA), 2013. At 26). So, what does this mean?
A dashboard brings together the information that an end user needs to understand and monitor what is going on in the business. For example, a quality dashboard might include a scorecard that describes how the quality metrics are performing against goals, a chart that trends metrics over time, and a list dimensions (e.g., physician, location, service) by which the metrics can be stratified.
Dashboards are popular because they provide useful information quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, sometimes a dashboard’s design thwarts the end user from acting on the information provided. Sticking to the rules below will help ensure that the dashboard provides the clearest message possible.