Power BI, a Microsoft analytics and reporting tool, empowers users to drill down and gain hidden insights from their data and therefore make more informed decisions. Since these insights are displayed in a Power BI dashboard, thus designing effective Power BI Dashboards with a great ability for excellent communication with the audience, is a must-have skill in a data analyst.
Seeing your concerns, we here at Calculate Data, have decided to enlist our top best seven tips for designing effective Power BI dashboards. Along with an elaboration on the importance of these tips.
Why is dashboard design important?
It is said,
“The first impression is the last impression.”
Similarly, a good and attractive dashboard design reveals all the necessary information completely, concisely, and coherently. This readily makes vital and supporting information accessible and comprehensible to the readers at a glance. Such high-level dashboards play a key role in benefiting businesses through their high performance.
So, designing powerful and attractive Power BI dashboard is an art. And to get over an art, let’s have a look at the said tips below.
Top 7 tips & tricks to design effective Power BI Dashboards
Following are the top and best tips, which once endured, will help you in designing attractive Power BI Dashboards
- Avoid Complex Dashboard & Tell a story on one screen
- Make use of full-screen mode
- Consider your audience
- Emphasize the most valuable information and place them correctly
- Use the right and simplified visualizations
- Design themes and Layouts to streamline your Dashboard
- Use Tooltips to provide additional details without consuming space
1. Avoid complex Power BI Dashboard & Tell a story on one screen
A dashboard stuffed with too much information with a need to scroll up and down is a big “No” for your audience. Once your audience scrolls down, an unspoken pledge to scroll up and connect the dots in a story arises. This is where your audience finds it hard to read and interpret. So, the best practice is to consider essential information and remove non-essential data while putting all tiles on one screen so that your audience finds it easy to read, interpret, and catch a story at a glance.
2. Make use of full-screen mode for Presenting Power BI Dashboard
Removing distractions is a key to an active interest in your presentation. Enhance the interest and attention of your audience by displaying your dashboard in a full-screen mode.
3. Consider your audience while designing effective Power BI Dashboards
What you consider important and what your audience considers important have a lot of big differences. You being a professional know exactly what needs to be put on the dashboard but maybe that will be not enough for your audience. Most of the time, the audience needs a little more to understand the story and sometimes a little less.
To make it easy put yourself in place of your audience and think of the key metrics that will help your audience make decisions, how will the dashboard be used? Consider the cultural assumptions of your audience and how they may affect design choices? And What information does your audience need?
It’s all about developing context based on your audience. Besides having the ability to create dashboards that are easy to navigate the different visuals and translate numbers into insights, being an analyst, your first job is to understand your audience. You need to design reports with all users in mind i.e., from those who love getting down into the details, to those who just want the big-picture, and not to forget those lying in between.
4. Why Emphasize the most valuable information and place them correctly?
Your Dashboard can cover a pile of information. And making your dashboard a pile of information is the first step to a disaster. On your dashboard, three things matter a lot i.e.,
- Text and visualization size ratio
- Deciding the importance level of the provided information
- Placing the information in the correct order
That is to say, if the text and visualizations on your dashboard are all of the equal size, audiences will have a tough time concentrating on what’s most important. So, deciding visualization and text size with regard to emphasis is important. For example, card visualizations are used to reveal an important number prominently. But be sure to provide the context in this case.
Similarly, it is very important for an analyst to decide the significance level of all the information needed to showcase on the dashboard. And depending on that, the most important information should be placed first and other important information next. Now placement can be done in two ways, again depending on your audience. Some read information from left to right and some read from top-to-bottom.
5. Use the right and simplified visualizations
Many recommend exploring visualizations and bringing variety. While many others forbid this variety. But we recommend two mains when it is about visualizations i.e.,
- Explore and use different visualizations but do not overdo them. We repeat do not overdo it. That is to say, use simplified visualizations which have the ability to paint a picture of your data and enhance the readability and interpretation.
- And most importantly use the right visualization for your data.
Don’ts and Dos of using the right Visualizations
For learners, we are fully aware of the fact that using the right visualization is pretty hard to decide for the data calling for a more-complex visualization. To make it easy for all learners, we have listed the following Dos and Don’ts for selecting the right visualization.
- Don’t use 3D charts unless unavoidable and readable. They may look pretty but are hard to read.
- Pie charts, donut charts, gauges, and other circular chart types must be used carefully. Use them when you have up to eight categories. Unless you have less than eight categories, it is hard to read and compare values side by side in all these circular charts. For example, for comparing one part to a whole object instead of comparing other parts, pie charts are a good practice.
- For comparing different parts in an object, use either a bar chart or a column chart.
- Chart scale demands consistency in its axes, dimensions, and colours for values.
- Quantitative data must be translated properly to catch the interpretation at a glance. That is to say, numerals after decimal point should not scale up to two measures and also, do not go above three or four numerals when encoding numbers. For example, better to write as 6.7 billion instead 6,700,000,000.
- Unnecessary labelling makes your charts complex. For example, bar charts don’t need to have unnecessary data labels. Labels like numerical values are usually understood without displaying.
- DO NOT combine large and small measures on the same scale as it may be in the case of timescales or quantities.
- Sort your charts properly. That is to say, either sort in ascending order or descending order. This quickly and easily draw audiences’ attention and make it readily interpretable for them.
6. Use themes and Layouts to streamline dashboards
Keeping all the above tips & tricks, one of the main tips is dashboard demands sophistication. By sophisticated dashboard, we mean pre-decide theme and layout of it.
A theme consists of colours to use in visualizations, background, fonts, and the colour your filter pane will have. Pre-decided themes always provide you with the benefit of future use as well and save you time by only manually changing the essentials.
As said earlier, placing the visualizations rightly matter. So, deciding a layout means which visualization be at the top or on the left and which be at the bottom or on the right. Also, which tile needs to have a bigger portion on the dashboard, and which needs to have a smaller portion.
7. Use tooltips for designing effective Power BI dashboards
When following so many constraints while designing a dashboard, we find many other details necessary. But unable to bring them in front due to preference given to most valuable information. So, last but not the least, use ‘tooltips’ to provide further or other necessary information with just one click without consuming space in your dashboard. This adds further context as well and keeps your dashboard high-level.
All the above tips & tricks are key to well-communicated and eye-catching dashboards and Calculate Data itself has always converted its dull reports into powerful dashboards by just following these. And we hope, our contribution towards our keen learners will not be futile in any way.