8 Replies Latest reply: Feb 13, 2017 8:44 AM by Friedrich Hofmann RSS

    General question on Dashboard_design

    Friedrich Hofmann



      maybe anyone here can help me: I just cannot understand why any manager should, as is seemingly often the case, want a Dashboard where you have like a dozen charts of different types on one sheet - that looks really cool, I usually go "Oh, wow - eh - wait a minute, where do I have to look now?".

      You really have to know the Dashboard - or read a handbook first - to know exactly what is what as there are usually no captions with comments on a chart or such things - it just looks like a multicoloured - thingy ...

      Measured with the standards of what I once learned, that is about the equivalent of a ppt_slide with the entire page crammed full of text. It keeps the presentation as a whole quite short, but it mutates the nature of the presentation (event) from you talking to your audience reading (or trying to read) your slides ...

      OK, I might be exaggerating a little - but that's how I see it. I always consciously limited myself to easy-to-grasp barcharts, linecharts or, in some cases, tachometer_charts, I always put just one chart on one sheet, with a navigation_bar on each sheet. A while ago, I was foolish enough to say so in an interview I had at a consulting company - resulting in me not getting the job because they were apparently looking for someone who could build that kind of Dashboards ...

      That was probably not the company's fault, they just have to offer what the customers want and so they needed someone with experience in building what their customers want - but that's where my first sentence kicks in again - I just don't understand why managers want that - especially if I take into account the commonly held belief that a modern manager keeps at one thing for only about 8min - should a Dashboard then not be designed so as to be easily and quickly understandable, making necessary some knowledge of the matter, but not about the Dashboard itself?

      Thanks a lot for helping me understand!

      Best regards,



        • Re: General question on Dashboard_design
          Vineeth Pujari

          The very basic idea is to see everything at once.


          Instead of navigating to different tabs or click buttons show/hide etc  which add to that many steps the user has to take be able to find the information he is looking for.


          Most users are top or senior management who would be most interested in a snapshot where they can find all they need and they do adapt to it more quickly then we think.

          • Re: General question on Dashboard_design
            Avinash R

            Hi Data Nibbler,


            The basic thing the Managers see is "How effectively your utilizing the space , if you open the reports and see lot of white space means your not utilizing the area scope provided for you"

            That's what most of the end user excepts from us. And If end user are able to get most for the KPI in one report then that's all they needed.   

            • Re: General question on Dashboard_design
              Marcus Sommer

              Hi DataNibbler,


              I think that you are going in the right direction by trying to create clear and self-explaining dashboards with less colors, borders, control-objects ... like from experts preferred - for example in the books from Karl Pover: Books and literature.


              On the other hand many dasboards (and ppt's) are intentionally designed in the opposite direction - the truth should be hidden or distorted by the amounts of objects and colors ... It's often just a political matter - who sells to who which truth ...


              - Marcus

                • Re: General question on Dashboard_design
                  Friedrich Hofmann

                  Hi all,


                  thanks for the answers!


                  Even if Vineeth tells me that top_managers can adapt to taking in that number of different informations at once or just learn very quickly where to look - what good is it that I (assuming I was such a manager) can "read" my Dashboard, but my colleagues cannot?

                  I think that guys who can do that would be the ones who really deserve to be top_managers - those who have the abilities - but I have an inkling that those are not in an overwhelming majority ...


                  Wanting to have something enabling me to see all the important information at a glance is what I do understand - to that end I always added to my Dashboards one sheet where there were just a series of traffic_lights, becoming green, yellow or red according to certain rules fixed by management. That way you'd have it all in one place and wouldn't have to very quickly interprete every single chart.


                  I'm rather with Marcus on this one, thinking that it's often a political question more than a technical one to want to have something only "I myself" can properly read - it is so much easier to be convincing in meetings if the others don't understand ...


                  Avinash may be right, too as what users expect is not necessarily that which is best from a technical point of view - the desire to use (fill?) to the max the screen_space available runs contrary, in my eyes, to the "saving on pixels" that many experts propose ...

                    • Re: General question on Dashboard_design
                      Friedrich Hofmann

                      Hmmm ... I'm still pondering on what Avinash told me about the utilization of screen_space - actually I feel I am using quite a lot of the available screen_space for the many "standard" objects I have on every sheet:

                      - a multi_selection_box

                      - a status_box

                      - a text_box with document_meta_info,

                      - a text_box with a direct feedback_email_button

                      - the navigation_bar

                      - a header_line

                      - not to forget the actual chart ...

                      I rather have the problem that the screen is becoming a bit crammed - many of the objects are "standardized" - according to my own standards to the end of making every Dashboard as self-explanatory and easy-to-use as possible. I will have to distribute information across multiple sheets again, facing me with the fact that all of the information is related and interactive and I do want the user to be able to analyze it in multiple ways ...

                        • Re: General question on Dashboard_design
                          Vineeth Pujari

                          One thing that I always try is to show related information in the same chart whenever possible.


                          For example, this one from qlik demos could have showed both info on two scales....but they wanted to fill the space I think

                          Qlik Demos

                          redundant charts.JPG



                          It's things like these where I mean to show as much information as neatly possible.

                            • Re: General question on Dashboard_design
                              Friedrich Hofmann

                              Hi Vineeth,


                              yep, that looks good - with the figures displayed, there's no need for the axis.

                              I always try to give the user as many possibilities as possible and to make these as easy as possible, so I do need some buttons and a status_box and some others, so that "non-IT" persons can work with a Dashboard. I have never yet created Dashboards for top_managers, but the real difference is probably whether you create Dashboards for professionals or rather for non-professionals.

                              I also try to show related information in the same chart or on the same sheet, but often there's just too much related data to do that.

                              Because one tool we had to distribute QlikView_reports via email doesn't work anymore, I have created single-object-URLs for some people so they can draw the info they need themselves - the apps are reloaded every morning by our QlikView_server), these could of course be made into a Dashboard (a webpage with different frames)

                              Best regards,




                              P.S.: You see, that's just my point: That snapshot looks good, fair enough - but that's static information so far - no interactivity, unless it's "hidden" (implicit) in the charts themselves ...

                              I just always try to make EXplicit and well visible the possibilities a user has to turn and twist their chart - that means additional objects and fewer charts on one page ... and several sheets make necessary a navigation_bar (or visible tabs).

                              But that is probably because I have not yet created Dashboards for senior and top management as you suggest , or - well, for that Dashboard_system I built here once upon a time, I created one Dashboard per team and for management I added one which consisted basically of one sheet with a lot of traffic_lights (one per team) and some links into those team_Dashboards. No different charts for management.

                                • Re: General question on Dashboard_design
                                  Friedrich Hofmann

                                  No, actually that last thing I wrote is beside the point that I made earlier:

                                  That snapshot not only looks good, but one also sees at a glance what is being displayed - that is good practice in my eyes and I would do something like that no problem - having additional objects to make the analysis_possibilities explicit is another question.

                                  This one is not like the examples that float around in my mind. Don't ask me now where I saw those, I think they are being referred in some books on those visualization_rules, but I'm not sure about that ...

                                  Well, never mind. Next time I have an interview for a QlikView_job, I'll just have to be more "assertive" about my visualization_skills.

                                  Best regards,