A tweet that got around twitter today reminded me of a great session I attended at Teched this year. It wasn’t about PowerPivot and it wasn’t even very technical. It was a session from Dan Bulos about Dashboard Design Best Practices. This is what the session was about:
How can you design an effective, useful, and appealing dashboard? Many articles and books focus on the mechanics of how to choose KPIs and the various formats available for displaying data. But even the most significant information can be lost if it is not displayed in a memorable way. Is the right format for critical values a grid, a graph, a gauge, maps, diagrams, or something else? What kinds of information are best displayed in a line vs. a bar graph? Where does a scorecard fit into all of this? Since they are not static, how dashboards interact and how they fit into a larger reporting environment offer a particular design challenge. Designing the navigation across the content on each dashboard page is critical to communicating the desired message. In this session, learn techniques for displaying a set of data in a dashboard for maximum impact and receive a framework for constructing dashboards from the various content types.
You can watch the entire presentation online at the teched online site.
One of the great slides in his presentation is the Chart suggestions chart that let’s you choose the chart type you need for the specific data you want to show:
Another great source about dashboard design is Stephen Few’s: Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data