Dashboards: How to make it effective

Posted on Posted in Website Design

We’ve seen effective use of dashboards with various applications. Dashboard shows the summary of the entire system operations in just one page. In addition, they make your application look cool and more interactive with use of graphs and charts.

Dashboards: How to make it effective

So now its your turn to create a dashboard for your killer app, here are some tips to make dashboards more effective:


  • Show only relevant information for the user. Dashboards should be customized specific to the user.
  • Highlight priority and overdue tasks. Use colors to represent the importance and urgency. For example, red is commonly associated with “High” priority while gray is to “Low”.
  • Use graphical representation (i.e. bar graph, pie charts) as summary statistics. Display a pie chart to show breakdown by category or bar graph to display performance.
  • Do consider use of cache. Dashboards are heavy on database queries. So, applying caching techniques would reduce performance hits. For example, if your dashboard is showing total number of issues reported yesterday, there is no point of executing the query every time the dashboard page is loaded.


  • Do not prompt for action. Avoid asking user to do a task on the dashboard. While it may seem appealing to the user, it actually distracts the user from looking at the overall picture. If really unavoidable, try to show the summary first and prompt for action only after clicking on “Show Details” button.
  • Do not list down records one by one. Considering displaying only “Last 10 Messages” instead of “All Unread Messages”. Otherwise, your dashboard will bombarded with long lists of stale data. Alternatively, display only the count of all the records (e.g. You have 56 unread messages).
  • Don’t overdo it. Remember that dashboard are heavy on database query so display only important and relevant data.

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