Your company is ready to become data-driven, and they’ve assigned you to design the analytics dashboards. Sure, you understand that data is essential, and you know some of the critical metrics for your business, but do you know how to design a dashboard?

Before you jump into designing anything, read through the following four most common mistakes people make when designing dashboards.


Mistake #1 Designing Analytics Dashboards in a Vacuum

Are you the only person who will use these dashboards in your company? Probably not. In most companies, different teams access data dashboards all the time, and each group has its own unique set of data questions they need to answer.

Instead of designing a dashboard that fits what you “think” will work for your organization, invite team leaders from across the company to a brainstorm meeting. Identify what each team will need the dashboard to do. Determine how each team will use the data to drive and achieve business goals more effectively.

Mistake #2 Overcomplicating the Design Strategy

When you open up analytics and business intelligence software, you will be overwhelmed with the sheer number of ways to collect and interpret data. It can become easy to grab everything and plug it into your dashboard. Unfortunately, too much data can overcomplicate your design.

Make a goal from the start to keep everything as simple as possible. Only focus on metrics and visuals that answer specific questions important to your business. Avoid overloading the dashboard by creating different views that focus on team-specific metrics. Lastly, gather feedback on the dashboards on a regular cadence and make updates as needed.

Mistake #3 Including Metrics that Mean Nothing to Your Business

We can collect an endless supply of data, but not all that information is pertinent to the way we run our businesses. The goal of having a dashboard is to have one point of truth for essential metrics your business needs to know. Anything else is not relevant and should not be included on the main dashboard.

To find out which metrics are important, determine what data-related questions matter most to your company. Each department may have different questions relevant to their part of the business, so it is vital to collect that information from every team to ensure that all created dashboards meet expectations.

Mistake #4 Using Dashboards that are Not User-Friendly

We’ve all seen it before — leadership purchases the latest-greatest software and expects team members to jump for joy and use it. Unfortunately, the software is often too complex to understand, or it doesn’t serve the purpose of what team members need. As a result, no one uses it.

Before your company purchases analytics software, meet with team leaders to determine what they need from the data. As you meet with vendors, explain these diverse needs, and ask vendors to show you those capabilities in the software. If possible, have team leaders join you for any software demos, so you can discuss as a team whether this is the right fit for your business.

Need Resources to Learn More about Analytics?

Check out this series of articles on analytics to get started.

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