Dashboards and Data Viz

When I am asked to develop a proof-of-concept for a client, one of the questions I always ask is, “Do you plan on displaying these dashboards on a mobile device?” If the answer is in the affirmative, I will construct my dashboard with a few things in mind.

First, there are several features that are not contained in the iOS app from iDashboards: drilldowns, chart legends, input parameters, maps and custom charts. If the audience viewing the dashboards will be using iPads or iPhones, it’s best to avoid using the aforementioned items. Nothing can kill a presentation faster than having a chart throw an error due to careless construction.

Second, I avoid making a dashboard too busy with a lot of charts. There is a lot to be said for the old axiom, “less is more”. Instead of having 15 charts, try displaying 2 solid charts with striking colors. Seeing a pie or funnel chart displayed in crisp relief on the beautiful screen of a mobile device really helps drive the message home.

Lastly, I always test my completed dashboards on several mobile devices; iPad, iPhone & Android tablet at a minimum. This will allow me the opportunity to go back and correct any issues before the client notices them. Again, nothing will kill the user adoption of a visual product faster than showing errors.

If you keep these tips in mind, you too will be on your way to constructing dashboards like the pros.

Matt Crawford– Technical Consultant, iDashboards


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