Designing Dashboard is an art..

Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

Tableau dashboard creation is part art. Visualizations are about more than simply presenting the numbers in your reports; they are about effective use of graphical elements to enable insights and “wow” moments for your users.  Adhering to these  dashboard guidelines will help you design for beauty, impact and insight.

  • Consider using scatter plot or map

If you want your data to compare values, scatter plot or map allow you easily identify performance or outlier.

Tip: Put different color on your category to convey more precise information.

  • Use colors to place emphasize or to make a point

Spotlight” is an example of how to emphasize what is important, with spotlighting only numbers that meet a defined threshold are highlighted.

Tip: Do not use 2 or more colors. Keep it simple with colors while making a point of your data.

  • Colors means differently

Divergent color:  Frequently used to show performance. For example: traffic light colors red or orange could be used to imply “bad,” green could be used for “good.”


Category color: Separate things by color based on something like a category, region or year. This feature is often used in stacked bars to break down values in a bar.


Gradient color: Typically use in lowest sales and the highest figures and assigns gradient color (i.e. the higher the value the darker the color). 

  • Perceived Perception ; Data range

When using something like Histogram or bar charts to compare numbers, try not to distort reality. For example: when comparing two bars, the numbers on the axis can be used to give the perception there is a large difference, whereas in reality the difference is minimal.

Tip: Output range depend on the data value, avoid putting starting to ending data value instead see the range of the data value.

  • More is less, Less is more

More information can be conveyed effectively with less dashboard objects while keeping concise information into one.

Tip: Designing your dashboards in this way will give a complete picture without information overload. Fewer queries are involved in rendering your dashboard, its performance is better.

  • Master the chart type

Remember, Visualizations should be just visual, not just numbers on a screen.

  1. Bar charts for comparing numbers
  2. Stacked bars for most categorical comparisons
  3. Line charts to depict trends over time
  4. Scatter plots to easily see outliers
  5. Maps for geographical data

    Tip: Try experimenting with the different visualizations under Show me in Tableau.
  • Follow your eyes not your heart

Sounds wrong it might seems however when user look at your dashboard, visual science tell us that the first place your eyes go is the top of a screen. The worksheet your users start with is often called the “driver” worksheet. Put this worksheet at the top and use it to filter detail worksheets below.

Tip: Putting information at the top will create a good visual hierarchy that users can easily scan.

  • Beginning with the end in mind

Sounds cliché however when you set your mind to have your dashboard with specific purpose build objects around it. Avoid lumping all unrelated dashboard expecting it to tell your user the whole story.
Tip: Start from the top and work your way down into the details, use the 5 second drilldown rule. Within 5 seconds your user know what the dashboard is trying to accomplish

Want to learn more?

Of course there is more to be taught however it takes time and practice to gain insight knowledge on these skills. Perfect the art of designing your Dashboard with us.

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