Chapter 30 Want to Engage People? Make Your Dashboards Personal

Here are some thoughts on making dashboards more engaging to the users. The answer isn't to resort to making things “flashy” or “beautiful” but to create a personal connection between the data and the user.


A few years ago, a client was updating a collection of survey data dashboards and wanted to revisit the way demographic data was presented. They thought that the collection of bar charts comprising the demographics dashboard was boring and wanted to replace them with something that was more visually arresting. In particular, they wanted to take something that looked like what is in Figure 30.1 and replace it with something flashy.

Dashboard shows set of three normal horizontal bar graphs for gender, generation, and location with n equals 845.

Figure 30.1 A “boring” demographics dashboard with boring bar charts.

Something with pizzazz! Something with treemaps and bubbles and pie charts! Something like what is in Figure 30.2.

‘Look what I can do’ dashboard shows tree map for location, bubbles for generation, and pie chart for gender.

Figure 30.2 Flashy demographics dashboard.

Yikes. This is certainly a colorful montage, but it takes hard work to make sense of it. Instead of taking seconds to grasp, it will take several minutes to understand the demographics of the survey takers.

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