Dashboard Designs Principles using Jaspersoft

Jaspersoft is gaining ground rapidly and as users get accustomed to using Jaspersoft on a daily basis, the problem of designing optimal dashboards and/or visualizations becomes urgent.

Having designed dashboards and other BI artifacts for a number of years, I have come to adopt a few simple fundamental principles that have helped me a great deal.

The five core principles are described below:

  1. Data complexity: Generally it is important to identify the complexity of the data at the very beginning. The complexity of data is usually reliant on the source of record system as well as the use cases attached with the data. As an example, an accountant will be able to understand accounting data (and KPIs) a lot easily than an average joe. So if you are designing a dashboard for data sourced from accounting system, it is better to “simplify” the data for general consumption based on the user groups. This directly gets us to principle#2…
  2. User Expertise: You should make user expertise with the data the best evaluator for your dashboard design. I have often found, that depending on the end user expertise, sometimes even a simple combo chart with to Y axis is difficult to read for some users. The user expertise problem is sometimes multiplied by the volume of data and the refresh frequency, which gets us to principle#3…
  3. Data Refresh: Providing timestamp context to users as you design the dashboards is fairly important. Most organizations would like to see data refreshed in real time or near real time BUT a key consideration is to determine WHO is monitoring the data refreshes and towards what end?
  4. Screen Resolution: Screen size and resolution should play a critical role in your consideration as well. I have seen requirements from customers where dashboards needed to be part of shop floors, manufacturing plants, retail space etc. Clearly having 20 inch monitors would not work for these venues. Having access to more “real estate” makes our job of designing dashboards a little bit easier.
  5. Dashboard Delivery: Knowing the technology that you have to use for dashboard delivery is also important. Some technologies make it easier to distribute dashboards on mobile devices vs others that more geared towards desktop delivery.

Hope this provides you with a good starting point. Do not hesitate to reach out to us contact@yourdataninjas.com if you have further questions.

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