Before starting the dashboard design process
Google Data Studio, a free data visualization tool, allows you to visualize and organize your data in meaningful graphs and charts. This functionality is not as extensive as Analytics. It allows you to save and display your most important metrics, rather than digging into statistics and numbers. This design makes it easy to see through all the noise and concentrate on the data that is most important to you. How do you determine if Data Studio is right for you or your client?
These are the preliminary questions you should ask:
- Who is the dashboard's intended audience?
- What are their goals?
- What kind of data will they use?
- What level of detail is expected by the user?
- What devices have access to the dashboard?
Now, after deciding on using Google Data Studio, we need to ask further questions to make sure that we are in the correct direction.
- Which information items should be on the dashboard? Why are they so important?
- What items in the dashboard answer your primary questions?
- How much detail is needed to communicate the information?
- What can be done to help you answer your key questions by comparing information?
- How often should the dashboard be updated?
Note answers to these questions. Each of them will be very helpful in each step of your dashboard design process.
Now let's see some more questions with different goals.
Before starting dashboard design process
Question blocks below are better to use before dashboard creation. Questions to these answers will empower you with the knowledge of client's/dashboard user's expectations and more.
Questions for dashboard user
- When was the last time you used metrics?
- What motivates you to examine data?
- What context would you use to review the dashboard?
- How often do metrics get reviewed?
- What amount of time do you spend reviewing numbers?
Questions for understanding outcomes of the dashboard
- What would you do with [certain data]?
- What can you do with these numbers to help you make a decision?
- What data would make you take immediate action if it was available? What are the minimum actions you must take?
- What would you do if you saw an anomaly?
Questions for understanding timeliness
- What information do your daily needs?
- How frequently do you examine specific data or metrics?
- What information is more important to you in trends than in a single moment in time? This is why it is important.
Questions for understanding interactivity
- Which figures are you comparing? (historical, average, business, industry, location...)
- What would you do with this data?
- What can you do to make this knowledge available to others?
Understanding the familiarity with data analysis
- Please tell me about your last time working with data. Tell me about your most recent experience working with data. What tool did it use?
- Please show me an analytics tool or report you like. What do you love about it? Do you prefer detailed data or a quick answer?
Understanding familiarity with business metrics and their implications
- What metrics are you currently tracking? What are their importance?
- How do you decide which metrics to monitor?
- Do you know of any other metrics your peers may use?
Familiarity with industry and analytics jargon and acronyms
- What were the difficulties you encountered when you initially embraced analytics in your job?
- (No question) Pay attention to the language used by the user/client/dashboard owner.
During dashboard design process
During the process of dashboard design, you should be looking for the perfect dashboard type for the client. Below questions will help you reaching to this goal.
- What kind of dashboard do you need?
Business dashboards are often viewed as a tool for executives to get a quick overview of the company. This, however, is not the only type that can be created. Dashboards can be used for many purposes. Some manufacturing companies have implemented operational dashboards in their shops. These dashboards allow employees to track their progress towards daily shipping goals.
- Who will use the dashboard?
One dashboard can't be all things for all people. Many people make the error of trying to fill their dashboards with data that is applicable to different audiences. What happens next? It is so overwhelming that no one uses it.
- Who are you attempting to assist?
Who or what group of people will make use of it? You can skip this step if it is you (and only yourself). If you know that more than one person will use the tool, make a list of their responsibilities. Write down the name of someone you know to help you visualize them as you work through the rest.
- On a daily basis, what do they do?
Make your points clear. The daily work of a Sales Agent who must get all their leads is very different to the day of a Sales Agent who receives all their leads.
- What goals are they trying to reach?
Are they concerned about increasing sales and generating new leads?Are they interested in helping their staff to get more leads and sales?Do they want to be able to better manage customer service calls?Are they looking to increase social reach for blog posts that your company publishes?
- What KPIs, if measured, will assist them in meeting their objectives?
It is preferable to ask the user or have a thorough understanding of their task. You face the risk of wasting your effort by developing a dashboard that no one uses.
- How are they currently viewing these KPIs?
Maybe they're using Excel docs, but it's becoming too large and cumbersome.Perhaps they're using CRM software, but it's not designed for this purpose.No matter what the reason, you need to be able to create a dashboard that surpasses their current KPI measurement method.