Dec 29, 2022

Best Practices for Dashboard Design

Best Practices for Dashboard Design

Dashboards are used to analyze, measure, and monitor valuable data to develop solutions and overview relevant key points in a particular area. “Digital dashboards allow managers to monitor the contribution of the various departments in their organization.” Wikipedia

To create an effective dashboard, you must convert the data into interactive, easily understandable content. I'll start with types of dashboards and Dashboard Design for better understanding. So Let's Get Started!

Dashboard Types

There are different types of dashboards, and you must choose the right one for your customer. You can select the correct type of dashboard from the following:

1- Strategic Dashboard:

This type of dashboard is used for getting an overview of how the business is doing. This dashboard is used by senior management and executives to make decisions regarding the company's future. The dashboard doesn't give a daily report on the revenue but a month-to-month overview of the revenue. You shouldn't include in-depth data for this dashboard, but it should have precise results of the company.

2- Operational Dashboard:

Unlike the strategic dashboard, which is used as a bird-eye view, an operational dashboard is used for in-depth analysis. This dashboard covers data from one department of the company, such as marketing, human resource, transaction, performance, etc. Therefore, when a SaaS business needs a dashboard for a particular department, you will use an operational dashboard.

3- Analytical Dashboard:

This type of dashboard is intended for data and business analysts. Therefore, it should be the most interactive dashboard among all the others. A lot of data is used for this dashboard; therefore, you should design it, so it doesn't look cluttered. For example, use white space wisely and keep the color uniform for a metric throughout the dashboard. In addition, there should be interactivity, such as; the user can see underlying data, drill down data and choose a specific timeline of the data to compare and analyze.

4- Tactical Dashboard:

Mid-Management uses this dashboard to keep track of the company's performance and employees. The detail level of this dashboard falls between operational and strategic dashboards. With this dashboard's help, the user can decide on the team, company performance, and potential future.

Basics of SaaS Dashboard Design

You need to save your users time and provide the information in a way that is both interesting and easy to understand. Different components come into play when designing a powerful, productive Dashboard. The key to it is UI, which will determine whether your dashboard will be able to do its job or not.

Users' Need

Before designing any dashboard, you will first need to conduct user research. This can be done by having one-on-one sessions with your user or customer and understanding their needs. Next, you need to ask them what data they want. What special features are they looking for? Etc. With this research, you will be able to narrow down the data according to the user's needs.


Information architecture, simply put, is the aspect at which you display the data and how the user will navigate it. You need to set a global navigation that includes the links to all the SaaS product's main features, tools, and settings. For an effective information architecture, you must differentiate between most to least important data. With the help of that information, you will be able to put your data in the correct layout hierarchy.
Such as, the homepage of the SaaS dashboard should include the most critical information and a summary of the key metrics for the user.

Data Visualisation

You need to remember that you will have a lot of data to sift through. User research will help you sort the data, but you will still need to simplify it further. Data jumbled up in an excel sheet will be of no use to the user; you need to provide as much visual aid as possible. This will include Charts, Tables, Bars Etc. With the help of these visual aids, you will be able to present data in a way that your user will be able to analyze the data much quicker and more efficiently.

Layouts and Design

In Addition to Visual Aid, the layout of the dashboard should be clean. They should be able to find the links and the necessary data within seconds. Keep this in mind when you are working on the design and layout of the SaaS dashboard.

There should be no extra or useless information; every word, image, or graphic should serve a specific purpose.

Five-Second Rule:

The primary purpose of any dashboard is to provide the user with the answers to their FAQs. Users won't have time to read through a bunch of data; therefore, you should use the five-second rule. To apply that, ask yourself the following question:

  • Will the user get to find the data within five seconds?
  • Does your dashboard provide accurate data for users' FAQs?

If it doesn't, your dashboard will suffer low app retention, and you should try your best to avoid that from happening.

Color Blocking:

The colors of the dashboard are vital when you are jumbling data and making your data look as attractive as possible. It will sound bizarre, but you need to grab your users' attention. For that, you should not use monochrome colors or designs with too many colors because they are too overwhelming for the eyes to bear. But that doesn't mean you should add no colors because that will be underwhelming or dull.

To balance things, you should use color blocking. With color blocking, you can pair bright colors with monochromatic backgrounds to create the best visuals for your SaaS dashboard design.

How much will it cost to build a dashboard?

There are many factors to consider regarding the cost of a  dashboard. You might end up paying a lot to get the best UI, but product design agencies usually try to stay within their budget to give their client what they want.

If you want an expert opinion on a particular dashboard you are designing or are going to design, you can have a quick free consultation with our UI Design Experts.

In Conclusion:

It can be daunting, from collecting user research and data to choosing and finalizing the design. But if you follow the proper steps and keep the key aspects or goals in mind, it will become quite easy. For popular dashboard designs, you can check out Dribble, or you can also check the dashboard we created for our client Applaudience.

Follow us on social media