Dashboard and Report Design

How good are your reports? A design checklist.

By Bernie | September 18, 2012

The Brilliant Dashboards Checklist: A systematic approach to assessing your dashboard You may be trying to work out why your current reports aren’t working properly or wondering if you missed anything on your newly created masterpiece. This design checklist encourages you to consider each element of your design and to score it if you are…

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Do the “blink” test on your reports

By Bernie | July 13, 2012

Review your reporting, can you tell at a glance how your business is performing? Can you (and the rest of your team) easily tell how your organisation is doing, even after coming back from holiday? If you can’t, consider designing a report template and making things visual, with more charts and performance icons. Here is…

KPI Report Design – Using Science to Improve Readability

By Bernie | July 2, 2012

 Using brain science to design better reports and dashboards   The challenge with dashboards is that we are trying to convey an insanely large amount of information in a very small space. A dashboard I built for a client a couple of years ago had nearly 2,000 pieces of information on an A3 sheet. To be…

5 steps to write better report commentary – How to write a style guide

By Bernie | June 11, 2012

Do you find your reports read like they were written by people competing to make different points? Do similar sections vary wildly in length, depending on who wrote them? Do the readers come back with basic questions that should have been covered in the commentary? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”…

Dashboard? That’s just a posh name for a report, isn’t it?

By Bernie | May 17, 2012

I had an interesting conversation with a company lawyer a little while ago. We were discussing dashboards and she said “It makes me laugh when people talk about dashboards, it is just a posh way of describing a report!”. It made me think as it seems to be a common misconception. What is the difference between…

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How to keep your reports short and effective

By Bernie | November 24, 2011

Which is the easier question to answer?: “Tell me about France” or, “Tell me about the restaurants in the village of Venosc that serve Italian food” ? It’s very obviously the latter (assuming you have the information available in the first place). It’s the difference between these two questions that explains how some reports can be…

Data Analysis – 10 Point Checklist

By Bernie | September 6, 2011

How good is your organisation at analysing the data you produce? Carefully answer these questions (you can use a 1-5 scale to improve the resolution of the checklist, where 1 is low/poor and 5 is high/strong). Are data and reports separate entities? Does revision of reports require manual intervention? Is there flexibility in cutting data…

A quick way to make horrific-looking, unreadable reports.

By Bernie | August 31, 2011

What’s the quickest way of making your report look rubbish and/or be unreadable? It’s simple, design it for one delivery format (A4 printed page, plasma, PowerPoint, Blackberry etc.) and then put in on another delivery medium. You know the symptoms, an Excel table pasted into a PowerPoint slide, a PDF that you can’t read on…

How to build a brilliant dashboard – 10 essential tips

By Bernie | August 29, 2011

Here’s a quick summary of 10 key points you need to take into account when you build a dashboard. 1) Know your target audience You cannot make everyone happy with one dashboard. If you have more than one target group it may make sense to create a separate dashboard for each group. Be sensible and…

BlinkCharts, what they are and why you need them

By Bernie | July 22, 2011

Most people just use the default graphs on Excel, perhaps with a colour change or two. Who says that Microsoft knows how much detail to put on your graphs? The default graphs (or charts, if you speak Microsoft English) are jam-packed with clutter. Why should you care? Every piece of clutter in a graph makes…