Dashboard Systems Design
Data is really only as useful as the system that is designed to use it, display it, and provide users to interact with it based on their own needs and goals.
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At FuseLab Creative, our focus on dashboard and interface design that makes use of critical data sources has led us to some of our most important work. We are now primarily working with organizations helping people live healthy and more prosperous lives through access to and usage of different types of data.
What features should a data dashboard have?
A “data dashboard” is a term people understand, however, it includes everything under the sun, including screen design for ATM, social media platforms, and system designs for mobile phones and tablets, to name just a few.
Engaging interface design is a multi-dimensional term. The primary goal is to consistently design with the goal of creating a completely intuitive user experience, which means that no explanation, training, or even explainer balloons will be necessary to successfully navigate the application.
Customizable data is really just a way of saying that users can filter or choose the way in which they view information. Personalizing how data is delivered is one of the hottest topics going right now. The more users can actually choose what they want to see the more successful the system we have created is, and the the more useful it will be.
Access to data is always made more useful based on how timely the data, which adds to the ability to make timely decisions as well. However, the last, and most important phase is the UX/UI, which is where we create the visual interface and paths in which a user will navigate through our interface design.
Keys To UI Dashboard Design
Data dashboard design keeps evolving over time, and so does our approach to UI/UX design. There was a time when usability was the most important factor when considering the design, but we live in a different time that demands so much more!
Consistent color scheme
With any kind of digital design, color usage is a critical design tool. Color indicates hierarchy of content and functionality, which helps make it easier to interact with any kind of digital and to move backwards and forward through a software system without getting lost, confused, or frustrated.
How do the hovers work? How do the menus work? What is clickable and not clickable, and how do we indicate the difference? Everything from the wireframes to the actual UI needs to be made part of the same design family, and that even one button could look out of place if it didn’t include something as small as round corners.
The "menuless" approach
Unique to FuseLab is our “menuless” approach to dashboard design, which means that everything on the screen a user sees should is also part of the navigation experience. To see more information the user clicks or touches an area to navigate to a deeper dive, taking away the need for elements like drop down menus that force user to guess what a menu item represents.
What data to show and not show
Almost no one wants to do extra reading online to get the information they are looking for. With this in mind, we employ an upside down funnel-like approach to the display of data in order to not overwhelm, but also to provide more differing types of data earlier in the experience, which also helps offer a more robust interface with as little clicks as possible.
There has been a lot written about the development of personas in our industry, but what it all comes down to is gaining an in-depth insight into those that will be utilizing the final dashboard, interface, or software. With this knowledge, we can bake-in the kind of functionality and design they find intuitive and attempt to pay more respect to a user’s time.
Most people, even those outside the design world have at least heard of Responsive design, which is really just about stacking and elongation of content. However, in many cases, this is no longer enough, and adaptive design is needed instead, which is specific designs for specific devices and device sizes. In this way we fix some of the common frustrations users might have.
5 Golden Rules For Building Great Dashboard Design
- Maximize Your Dashboard Real Estate
The strategic use of space on a dashboard is as important as the content itself. FuseLab creates multi-layer dashboards that work to keep everything needed in front of the user with very little need for scrolling. All information fits within the original dashboard parameters and continues allow for deeper dives.
- Modularity and Connectivity
Possibly one of the most important details to consider in the development of a dashboard is how all of the content blocks relate to each other. Additionally, when user clicks on a tab or "view more" what happens to the rest of the interface, do thing rearrange, does the selected content expand and contract back? All very important questions.
- Grouping of Data
As certain selections are made on a dashboard, the selection itself is feeding the dashboard information, and given this fact, the UX should support that selection by offering similar content and additional options within that same category, or at least something that is some way similar in its context or data type.
- Personas, Case Studies, User Stories
It's not what you know about your audience, it's what you don't know and how you can design a system to service the tech savvy as well as the first time user. For instance, if your UX does not offer a clear path to desired information for a savvy user, they will immediately look elsewhere for what they need. With most people you have one chance, so make the most of it and study your audience.
- Develop KPIs and Keep Track
Possibly the easiest task in dashboard design is to track your users experience. Maybe you use hotjar, maybe you are just watching simple analytics, whatever the case may be, watching how people interact with your platform, making continuous changes as they are warranted, and have a set of KPI goals will help keep you on track and serve your users better and better over time.
Dashboard / Interface Portfolio
Start with a top Creative Agency like FuseLab Creative; mix in some experts in UI/UX, Integrate Marketing, and App Development, and anything is possible! At the heart of every project is a dream to be better, this is where we start: fueled by your dreams.
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