Tell me who your final user is and I will tell you what type of dashboard you need. We are all different and it’s wonderful, but as a data analyst you should never forget that your point of view and your preferences are just yours. Depending on the role and background of your final user, you don’t need to do the same kind of dashboards. It sounds obvious, but sometimes we feel obliged to use all the data that we have in our disposal to make our masterpiece and to make the most technically complex data visualizations, but the golden rule is still the same : MAKE IT SIMPLE.
So where to start ?
Let’s imagine the following situation : you’re preparing some dashboards for your Sales Department. As you could notice I’m speaking about the dashboards in plural and it is extremely important. I do know that many of my colleagues prefer to make a single dashboard giving a macro view and the options for filtering and changing the parameters, but let’s imagine the following situation. Let’s say you’re asking someone to show you the way to the Eiffel tour. Your question is simple, but the person you’re asking is telling you about all the sightseeing of Paris. It’s really very kind of him or her, but you have an impression that he or she makes you waste your time, don’t you? Go straight to the point. Please answer the question you were asked.
Depending on the final user you won’t have the same question and the frequency of getting an aswer from you will never be the same. If for the top manager a weekly report will be a perfect option, it can be really insufficient if you deal with, let’s say, a sales person who’s trying to reach his/her target sales level and wants to have a daily report. Adapt the frequency of your reports on the final customers’ needs.
Don’t be afraid to use a simple table in your dashboards. You don’t know how to create a Sankey Diagram ? Don’t panic. A simple table can be still a perfect way to represent your data, especially if you focus on your best customers’ performances. Even though you may have more then a thousand customers in your database, it still can be interesting to check whether the top 10 customers are doing well (Don’t forget the Pareto rule). Moreover, if you deal with a C-LEVEL manager I really invite you to make it as simple as possible, you are paid to provide some valuable insights ! Don’t expect this kind of final users to « play with filters », actions and parameters. On the contrary, making a dashboard for your sales persons can be very challenging. You should give them the easiest and the most intuitive way to get theinsights on their customers. Don’t forget, they are paid to spend most of their time with the customers not with your beautiful dashboard.
And what if you’ve never seen your final users ?
Don’t forget the golden rule, make it simple.
As a conclusion : before playing with your data, ask yourself do you really know your final user ? If the answer is YES, it won’t help you to master the complex formulas, but it will definitely save you some time.