Sep 12, 2022
Nov 10, 2023

Data Visualisation: What not to do and how to do it right

Maximise efficiency with well-designed dashboards — learn common mistakes to avoid and harness real-time data for business growth.

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Are you solving your data problems or making them worse?

There are hundreds of moving parts in your business thataffect its overall performance. Throw data in the mix and it’s no wonder businesses are increasingly turning to dashboards and data visualisation to report and monitor metrics and kpis. Dashboards take all of those constantly moving parts and simplifies your data into more manageable chunks of visual information, allowing you to glean valuable and actionable insights at any time.

They save time, improve business processes, and enable you to spot gaps or issues – but only when they’re designed well and used correctly. A poorly designed dashboard that’s used improperly – or not at all –has limited effectiveness, and borders on being a waste of digital space.

Here we take a look at the most common dashboarding mistakes– and how your business can avoid facing the same problems.

Common mistake #1 : Your dashboard is overloaded with TMI

One of the most common challenges businesses face during their data journey is dealing with a disconnected maze of systems and reports. A dashboard brings those disparate sources of data together, giving you the benefit of one fully integrated and consistent reporting solution.

But, that doesn’t mean throwing everything plus the kitchen sink on the one dashboard. A single dashboard doesn’t need to answer all the questions, and complexity will only make it more challenging and overwhelming for user’s to understand. On the other hand, too many dashboards become a management problem.

A series of more structured dashboards divided into categories of issues you want to solve or targets you want to accomplish will be more effective.

Common mistake #2: Your dashboards are not tailored to the audience

Dashboards give you a consolidated view of all data in a way that’s easily interpreted by business leaders through to your frontline workers. They’re also easily shareable, giving employees access to analytics that will help them do their job better and more efficiently.

That all being said, it’s imperative you customise your dashboards, so they display the right metrics to the right people and departments. Also, data visualisation tools are made to be seen and discussed. When configured well, they’ll become an integral part of your operations.

Common mistake #3 : You haven't defined the true purpose of your dashboard

Unlike static reports, dashboards can be connected to live data sources, giving you access to the most updated information – refreshed on demand when needed. But here’s where some businesses run into trouble. You can’t make data-driven decisions if the data you’re working with doesn’t directly impact the goal.

This usually happens when dashboards are designed, without first considering which metrics matter most to the success of your business.

Common mistake #4: You are using overcomplicated data visualisations

While it might be tempting to have fancy graphs that use every colour in the rainbow, less is more in the world of dashboarding. Data visualisation tools are a great way to present data, but remember – it’s the data insights you want to focus on, not the visuals.

A simple, intuitive and interactive dashboard that makes clever use of the right visual components will allow you easily consume the data you require. Drop-downs show specific metrics and categories of interest, while charts and tables allow you to click through to more detail or focus on a specific area.

Common mistake #5: Your dashboard has a lack of benchmarks or comparisons

Dashboards allow you to set benchmarks and monitor performance in real-time. This empowers your business to make fast, fact-based decisions, which means you can respond quickly to market changes – and track the results. But you’re still getting the same ad-hoc requests all the time.

This is caused by an amalgamation of all the other dashboarding challenges we’ve mentioned. Too little or too many dashboards, that aren’t specific to users, use the wrong metrics and are eye-watering to look at, won’t get the engagement you want – and therefore the utilisation that your business needs.

When done correctly, dashboards and data visualisation tools will eliminate many pain points, and allow users to ultimately self-serve their own insights when they need them most

Looking to get your data dashboards done right?

Almost every business can benefit from a dashboard that aligns with its objectives. You can gain insights into the most important aspects of your data in real-time, and use that information to make well-informed business decisions that drive market growth.

At Data Insight, we can help you design, build and implement, as well as audit and optimise any existing dashboards. We can build the dashboards on-site in your systems using your data, or host your data in our systems with dashboards we build and maintain.