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Information Dashboard Design: Does Your Information Dashboard Communicate Effectively?

January 24, 2006

Sebastopol, CA--Imagine driving a car with the dashboard displaying information that doesn't help you gauge speed, fuel level, or whether the engine is overheating. The same scenario can apply to information dashboards displaying corporate data that's meant to be useful. The information dashboard has become a uniquely powerful tool for communicating important data at a glance. Unfortunately most dashboards that are used in business today fall far short of their potential. The root of the problem is poor visual design. Information Dashboard Design (Few, O'Reilly, US $34.99) teaches the visual skills needed to create dashboards that communicate effectively with clear information that is relevant and compelling.

In the age of "Blink" (Malcolm Gladwell's best-seller), meaningful dashboards are essential to quick understanding that guides decision-making on a daily basis and in a crisis," comments Ben Shneiderman, Department of Computer Science Professor, and Founding Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL) at the University of Maryland. "But don't be lured into sparkle and flash. Make sure to follow Stephen Few?s guidance so that the key variables are visible and important changes are highlighted."

To serve their purpose and fulfill their potential, dashboards must display a dense array of information in a small amount of space in a manner that communicates clearly and immediately. This requires design that taps into and leverages the power of visual perception to sense and process large chunks of information rapidly. Information Dashboard Design is designed solely to help readers develop these visual design skills and create effective dashboards. This book will also explain how to:

  • Avoid the thirteen mistakes common to dashboard design
  • Provide viewers with the information they need quickly and clearly
  • Apply what we now know about visual perception to the visual presentation of information
  • Minimize distractions, cliches, and unnecessary embellishments that create confusion
  • Organize business information to support meaning and usability
  • Create an aesthetically pleasing viewing experience
  • Maintain consistency of design to provide accurate interpretation
  • Optimize the power of dashboard technology by pairing it with visual effectiveness
  • Information Dashboard Design highlights the effective visual communication of data in a clear and concise manner that helps meet business communication goals.

    Additional Resources:

    Information Dashboard Design
    Stephen Few
    ISBN: 0-596-10016-7, 223 pages, $34.99 US
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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