Product & Dashboard UI/UX
If you build it, they will come.
Hah. That was said by Said someone, once upon a time in history, who didn’t have to deal with tech-related problems like dashboard UI design — or contests from five other analytics platforms claiming to do the same thing as your data product — only better.
Throw a stone in any SaaS or mobile niche these days, and there are at least five heavy hitters that come to mind. What’s worse, they’re all following the same great marketing techniques, so potential users (aka customers) all get the same message:
“Our app is the only app for you.”
In such an arena of competition, the best (and maybe even the only) way to distinguish yourself is to build a better product. And, a better product starts amore customer-aligned dashboard UX design.
Boost Labs helps you create data products that deliver the solution your end-users actually need, rather than the solution you think they need. And we do this with a fundamental and significant competitive advantage that subtle influences human behavior: dashboard user experience.
What’s So Important About Dashboard UI?
At one point, Marie Antoinette decided that what people really needed was to eat cake. We all saw how that ended up. Let that be an important lesson in the follies of assuming what people want. The Boost Labs team believes in something more revolutionary (and simpler):
Give the people what they want!
That’s what UI and UX design achieve. The disciplines of user experience design are all-encompassing and that’s why so many companies feel completely overwhelmed when they try to hammer it out on their own. It also doesn’t help that UX design has reached cult status in product development teams. While the discipline is quite a specialized field and does require specific expertise, you may be surprised at the familiarity of some of the skills user experience designer criss-crosses.
User experience can’t operate without a screen or, also known as the dashboard. Something as simple as your smartphone’s unlocked home screen is a dashboard. No two dashboards look alike, but all truly great dashboards have the same hallmarks of behavioral design.
- Successful dashboard UI’s are designed to perform specific tasks
- They do not reinvent the wheel and, instead, rely on certain behavioral conventions that users already experience (such as swiping left to scroll through different screens on a mobile app)
- They present only the most relevant data, and the user needs to interact with the dashboard to access other functions (and screens)
- Good user experience serves up a combination of visuals and text. In the case of data dashboards, for example, the main screen should feature easy-to-read graphs, charts, and callout metrics so a user can learn the most important information at a glance
- Effective dashboard UI also asks for input from the user. In fact, they empower the user to decide what they want to focus on.
- And, finally, for the purposes of consistent visual cues, which translate nicely into brand loyalty, a great dashboard will present data using the same colors, icons, and fonts.
Many people think that great dashboard UI, and dashboard UX design in general, is how things work. But, when things work, a user doesn’t think about it. They simply experience a feeling of satisfaction at getting to their end goal intuitively, seamlessly, and even pleasurably. Design may be how it works. But dashboard UX design is how a user feels.
That is what Boost Labs delivers for each of our product and dashboard UI/UX projects. Your voices and original ideas matter — and they should guide your end-user into a truly unique interaction that both reflects your business and fulfills their goal.
Dashboard UX/UI Design For Your Business
Dashboard design for your business helps your end-user process information in a more comprehensible manner. As far as experiences go, you don’t want your users to experience information overload.
Instead, great dashboard design follows consistent best practices.
1. Choose One Type of Dashboard
- Business Intelligence — These dashboards measure and monitor operations to deliver business insights into operations.
- Long-term trends — Trend-tracking dashboards analyze data over time, and help the user pull out clear patterns of change.
- Strategic/Performance — Performance dashboards are used to help management make decisions.
- Analytical — Finally, analytical dashboards are based on queries, and they work with aggregate data to answer questions.
Before you choose any of these four, you should take the time to understand your user’s needs. In other words, your dashboard design partner needs to collect data through various research methods that then inform the design. Once designed, they need to continue using incoming user interaction data to refine features.
2. Opt for Minimalism
Clutter keeps your user distracted and confused. If there are too many icons, too much information, or too many possible actions a user could take on a dashboard, that’s a bad thing. Keeping your dashboard minimalist in both form and function means keeping things simple. When you understand the needs of your user, you can make sure that there’s only one end goal for each screen.
3. Design Based On the Principles of Information Architecture
This leads us to information architecture. It’s the practice of deciding which information and functions are the most important and “secondary” to your overall goal. Dashboards present relevant information upfront, right? This means that UX designers need to know what the user’s main intent on any dashboard or screen is and what they’re hoping to achieve. Based on this, a UX designer needs to present information that matters most right up top. They also need to place this information, physically, on a page in a natural pattern to a user’s reading behavior. That means using “F” or “Z” formations to create visual hierarchy and save users from optical fatigue.
4. Interactive and Responsive
You don’t need to look too far for design inspiration when it comes to dashboard UX. As much as a user wants a dashboard to look and feel smooth, they’re also looking for a platform that facilitates their own actions. Short of hiring a virtual assistant, great dashboard UX design should encourage a user’s self-empowerment. Interactive and responsive dashboards ask for input from the user. It puts the decision-making process in the user’s hands. It should then guide them into translating these options into specific tasks or functions a user can execute.
5. Decide On Your KPIs Strategically
Part of information overload is a failure to understand which KPIs truly matter and which metrics are surface-level gimmicks that just tell part of the story. This is where a dashboard designer needs to conduct thorough audience research.
Even if your platform or dashboard promises a very narrow function, not every user taking advantage of the tool will be the same. There may be four or five “core” audiences or user types that harness what your dashboard is offering. So it’s up to a UX designer to anticipate which metrics, visually represented, are the most relevant for specific types of audiences, based on what your business or brand promises they can accomplish.
Deliver An Elevated Experience With Better Data Visualization
When you’re designing dashboards, you’re essentially designing with data. The two are intertwined, which means you need a data visualization partner who adequately understands the balance between the two.
To deliver a truly elevated experience for your users, you need a partner who:
- Demonstrates clear expertise
- Has a track record of solving problems with data and design
- Can convey complex ideas with clarity
- Focuses on asking the right questions
Boost Labs is a data dashboard UI service uniquely positioned to work alongside our clients in these exact areas. Together with our clients, we develop data dashboards that:
- Have deep experience solving complex problems for enterprise clients
- Focus on enhancing business performance by designing dashboard UX defined by data
- Infuse data at every point of the product lifecycle, from ideation to application
- Create custom software and interactive platforms for a company’s proprietary data sets, designed to extract value for business intelligence
Why Boost Labs?
As master data analysts, curious coders, and cutting-edge designers, the Boost Labs team’s zone of genius is in crafting and creating experiences around data. By blending data and design, we put the power back in your hands. Uncover information, capture business intelligence, trace patterns, and do it all in real-time — if that’s what your teams and stakeholders need.
We work closely with our clients for a dashboard UX design that’s truly collaborative.
To learn more, contact Boost Labs today.