Qlik Community

Ask a Question

Qlik Design Blog

All about product and Qlik solutions: scripting, data modeling, visual design, extensions, best practices, etc.

Announcements
Welcome to our newly redesigned Qlik Community! Read our blog to learn about all the new updates: READ BLOG and REPORTED ISSUES
Not applicable

The Demos & Best Practices team are often asked to look at applications built by third parties and give feedback. This feedback covers technical QlikView recommendations as well as design & usability best practices. Being on the outside looking in our team tends to approach these apps in ways their developers usually haven't considered. Very often these apps are being built by developers who have been so focused on making sure the data is correct they haven't stopped to consider the user experience until they are almost finished.

With that in mind the following are a four pieces of design advice that we tend to give fairly often.

Boxes boxes everywhere.

Many developers leave borders, shadows, and caption backgrounds on their charts and list boxes. These are some of the first things the Demos & Best Practices team remove when we are overhauling an app. When every object is fenced in it makes the entire app look very boxy where all of the objects are their own little entities isolated from the other charts. Even if you aren't convinced by this reasoning the question we would pose is "how are these borders, shadows, etc. helping the app?"

No 3D charts … ever.

Like something out of Mommie Dearest you shouldn't use 3D charts. Ever. Aside from the fact that they are "aesthetically unappealing" they make reading the data difficult. In a 3D vertical bar chart does the bar terminate at the front/bottom of the top plane, the middle of the top plane, or the back/top of the plane? How are shadows in a line chart helping you to analyze your business? Is a 3D pie chart tilted into perspective easier to understand than a standard pie chart? There are ways to be creative and add some visual fun into your design (backgrounds, slight shadows dividing up the space of an app, a few icons, etc) but 3D charts isn't one of them.

Include a Dashboard page

Under the pressure to develop an app that works many developers focus on creating a variety of ways to analyze the data but forget to have a page that summarizes the data. Include a Dashboard page that gives the summary of the app. If the app is about sales include the major sales figures as well as reference sales goals and whether or not those goals were met. Who were the top five sales people? Who were the lowest five? Give a list of your top selling items as well as your worst selling ones. If it is a medical application give some high level numbers about the number of patients, doctors, hospital staff and if they are up or down from this time last year/quarter/month etc. What is the average wait time to see a doctor? How many procedures have been ordered lately and what are they costing? There are unlimited possibilities of what you could include but the idea is to give your users an overall summary of the status of things before they go into a deep dive and analyze the numbers.

Be Consistent

If you have reoccurring objects that are on many pages keep them in the same location on each page. Use the same colors and font sizes for like minded labels, captions, and text. Design all of your pages to the same width. When things jump around it creates dissonance and users have to adjust and learn how to navigate each page. This process takes time & cognitive effort and is detracting from the time & effort they should be dedicating to using your application. Pick a style and stick to it.

8 Comments
Creator
Creator

Thanks for bringing this up because it is too often forgotten. Iam a former photographer and I have also wondered why IT developers need to think different than everyone else in the world. Why are they always putting the most unimportant information on the upper left pane. ie. products,demographic,time,geographical and current selections are always placed at the most cognitive important part of the screen(upper left). Also use of colors is very often misunderstood and it will be(remeber the red color is always treated closer than its really is). Learn how to split the screen into parts and range and place your object after this rules from the masters of Art. Rembrant, Van Gogh, Munch or even before that. Left upper part is seen as pleasure, your eyes are placed here at the first view of an screen. Right pane is less interesting and it is on the way out of the picture, and objects placed so far out on rigth side is often seen as fear. Try to imagine for your self what you see and what you remember 5 sec after you have been looking on a screen. What is the management people are interesting in ? Well it's the figure of the day before they attend the managers meeting. If they ask someone during the meeting what the figure is, you have as developer made your error number one. I have recently raised a "look and feel" project into one of the worlds most dedicated design companies "Eker Design" in Norway. This people have i.e. designed Koeningseg cars, Hydrolift boats and they say - Think of designing a car, if you start with the outside lines stirpes and borders - you wont have space to the engine. I hope more people look to what Michal Anthony have written here and stick to it, because this is going to be the most important for every company the next 10 years.

Tormod Hanstad

Canal Digital Norway A/S

0 Likes
1,278 Views
Partner
Partner

Nice article! Especially no doubt useful and funny part about 3D Charts

0 Likes
1,278 Views

4 excellent bits of advice.

This White Paper Common Pitfalls of Dashboard Design by Stephen Few I have also found very worthwhile reading & digesting.

     www.perceptualedge.com/articles/Whitepapers/Common_Pitfalls.pdf

Best Regards,     Bill

1,278 Views
MVP & Luminary
MVP & Luminary

Thanks for sharing this.  Always nice to see that my views on design are backed up by you guys at Qlik.

I have done a blog post and quick video showing how quick you can go from an ugly looking chart (with 3D and shadows etc.) to a nice clean one:

http://www.quickintelligence.co.uk/qlikview-design/

And another on an approach for a very simple easy to read dashboard:

http://www.quickintelligence.co.uk/keep-qlikview-simple/

Hope people find these useful also.

Steve

0 Likes
1,278 Views

This is a useful reminder.

I assume that Themes are the best way of maintaining consistency when you diverge from the default presentation settings.  Is there a simple guide/best practice/pattern for using Themes in QlikView?

0 Likes
1,278 Views
Specialist III
Specialist III

good article.. thanks a lot.

0 Likes
1,278 Views