Information Dashboard Design

One-day workshop

Detailed course description

Many information dashboards fail to satisfy those who use them and are often under-utilized or abandoned after just a few months. This is a sad reality indeed since dashboards have the potential to significantly improve the effectiveness of users and save them a great deal of time.

Designed by Stephen Few, updated by Nick Desbarats, and based on the foundational book of the same name, Information Dashboard Design equips workshop participants with the fundamental principles and best practices that enable them to design information dashboards that:

  • Can be reviewed by users quickly and without forcing them to click through filters and selectors that erode productivity and long-term dashboard traction
  • Make problems and opportunities within the organization “pop” so that they get noticed
  • Enable users to see potentially causal relationships between metrics to help determine why a problem has occurred and how to respond to it

Who should take this course

Anyone who is responsible for creating information dashboards for users within or outside of their organization. Workshop participants may be software developers, user interface designers, business intelligence professionals, data analysts or have other, similar roles. Executives or others who consume dashboards will also find the workshop to be of value since it will enable them to ask for dashboard designs that help them to be more effective at their jobs. Those who are or will be engaged in a dashboard development product evaluation process will find this course to be of particular value.

Key topics

  • The definition of what a dashboard is (and isn’t), and what a dashboard should do as opposed what should be left to other types of information displays
  • Effective dashboard organization and layout practices that enable rapid visual scanning, with examples of well-designed dashboards
  • Compact information display techniques that enable large numbers of metrics to be shown on a single screen
  • Graph types that work well on dashboards and those that don’t
  • The importance of displaying contextual values such as targets, historical averages, and the like alongside current values to highlight metrics that require attention
  • Steps in the dashboard design process
  • 13 common dashboard design mistakes and how to avoid them

Topics not covered

  • This is not a software product training course. The fundamental principles and best practices of good dashboard design apply when creating dashboards using any modern dashboard development technology.
  • The emphasis is on creating highly functional information dashboards and not on creating visually impressive or highly interactive (but often less useful) information displays.

Workshop format

Workshops consists of engaging, interactive presentation segments that feature real-world dashboard examples and a group exercise wherein participants apply recently-learned skills by critiquing several real dashboards. Best practices are demonstrated, not just stated, so that participants understand not just what the best practices are but also why they yield dashboards that are genuinely more useful and that deliver more value to organizations. No computers or software are used. Workshops last one full day with morning, lunch and afternoon breaks. At the end of the workshop, each participant receives a copy of Stephen Few’s book, Information Dashboard Design: Displaying data for at-a-glance monitoring, on which the workshop is based.

To take this workshop