In my experience, a lot of people struggle with creating a good dashboard design. They might be very clear on who they are designing for and what KPIs are needed but the actual design often looks somewhat cluttered and it may be unclear what reading path to take. It should be recognized as a skill that must be developed, but there is actually a shortcut – the design style guide templated app.
Design Style Guide
Design style guides are normal to have for any brand, it defines how to visually represent your brand including fonts, font size, colors, icons etc. and it makes it easy for anyone to produce content that follows the visual narrative of a brand. So what does that have to do with dashboards? Well, you can and should create a design style guide for your dashboards to make sure your dashboards are consistent and follow the narrative you wish to set for your company.
It’s as easy as installing a templated app
You may not know how to start with creating your own design style guide, but the Einstein Analytics team has made it easy for you – all you have to do is install a templated app and the guide is ready in a matter of minutes.
The app contains two datasets and a dashboard with three pages giving you styles with fonts and colors, widgets, and a dashboard template – see the image below.
It’s really easy getting your own design style guide, all you have to do is head to Analytics Studio, click the create button and choose “App”. You may notice the view has changed slightly in Summer 20. The design style guide was a recommended app when I went to create my app, but if it isn’t then scroll down to find it or simply search for it in the search box.
Once selected click “Continue” to see a preview of the dashboard. Click “Continue” again to set your primary color. More colors will be added automatically based on the primary color. Now click “Looks good, next” to give your app a name and finally hit the create button. You should now see Astro skipping indicating the installation process has started.
Note: You will not be able to install this in Spring 20 if you do not have enabled null value handling. This is fixed with the Summer 20 release.
How should I use it?
Once the app has installed successfully you will get an email and you can open up the app – if Astro is still skipping then close the tab and reopen the app to see the two datasets and the dashboard.
The dashboard works as any dashboard and you can of course make manual modifications to it. Maybe you are not happy with one of the colors and you want to change that to fit better to your brand.
I think the most important part is that this dashboard can be used as a kickstart for any dashboard you need to build. Simply clone the dashboard by clicking on the three dots and select “Clone in new tab”. Now you are free to use any widget or page in the dashboard as a kickstart for the dashboard. Remember you can remove queries from any widget as well as clone and move widgets between pages, hence making every component in the dashboard a building block for your new dashboard.
Also remember that the dashboard has references for colors, font size etc. so you can quickly check the details to make sure the dashboard follows the defined standard and thereby aids a consistent user experience.
Once you are done with your dashboard you can simply delete the pages you no longer need.