Just like hearing that popular song from high school can elicit certain emotions, so too can a dashboard. Intuitively, the words “emotional” and “dashboards” don’t appear to go together. However, it's not difficult to imagine some four letter words being thrown around because “the numbers don’t make sense” or because your audience is frustrated that they can’t understand what you’re trying to say.
Sound familiar? When dashboards do not connect for your audience this is the sad intersection of lost clients, wasted time and dollars.
Today’s dashboards have the power to do more and be more than their predecessors. Just as modern web/application design marry utility, usability, mobility and beauty, so the same can be said for our information displays. Your organization’s data, when presented correctly, should command attention, start a conversation, compel action AND strike the right emotion.
How do you trigger the right emotions with a dashboard?
Frustration #1: Which information is most important!
Unfortunately, more often than not the heart of the designer’s message is lost among all the metrics and chart. In this flurry of enthusiasm to get something done, little attention is paid to guiding the user on how to consume the information, so they get what they need. Take a second look at your dashboard and ask what should be the first thing they see? Will they know it’s the most important.
Frustration #2: There’s too much detail!
Don't get caught in the myth that more is better. Your users probably have other responsibilities other than looking at your work all day. Give them the high-level path to follow, and let those users who need more info have the option to drill down into the details which can be collapsed under the high-level data point, or linked to an appendix, or included in separate report.
Frustration #3: The dashboard looks like Gaudi made it!
Overzealous graphics, too much color, images, etc can cause more harm then good. Don’t get us wrong, Gaudi was an amazing artist, but, when displaying valuable analyses save your modernism impressions for some other endeavor. Be purposeful in how you use these elements.
There is no need to let those emotions go unchecked when it comes to displaying your dashboard results. To ensure you are triggering the right emotions and ensuring your dashboards are delicious, Download the emotion-filled Juice white paper “Designing Dashboards People Love”. Just updated to reflect the latest in Data Fluency.