Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

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  • Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • With apologies to Billy Joel, in Excel, the differences between building a dashboard and creating standard table-driven analyses are as great as the differences between California and New York. Shall we count the ways? BUT FIRST, before we count, some deönitions… Get Yourself into a Dashboard State of Mind Best Practices for Excel Dashboards & Reports Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Deöning Dashboards and Reports It isn’t difficult to use report and dashboard interchangeably. In fact, the line between reports and dashboards frequently gets muddied. It is common to see reports inaccurately referred to asas “dashboards” just because they include a few charts. Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Reports • A document that contains data used for reading or viewing. • As simple as a data table or as complex as a subtotaled view with interactive drill downs, similar to Excel’s Subtotal or pivot table functionality. • • Often allow for the end users to apply their own judgment and analysis to the data. Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Example of a Report This report shows the National Park overnight visitor statistics by period; note that it isn’t steering the reader in any predeöned judgment or analysis. It simply presents the aggregated data. Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • And What’s a Dashboard? A visual interface that provides at-a-glance views into key measures relevant to a particular objective or business process. Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Dashboards have 3 MAIN ATTRIBUTES They... 1 Typically graphical in nature, providing visualizations that help focus attention on key trends, comparisons, and exceptions 2 Often display only data that are relevant to the goal of the dashboard 3 Contain predeöned conclusions that relieve the end user f from performing his own analysis (given that dashboards are designed with a speciöc purpose or goal) Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Here’s a best practices example of a dashboard. See the difference? Good! You’re easing into a Dashboard State of Mind. Now, PREPARE FOR GREATNESS! Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Simplify! How many times has someone told you that your reports look “busy”? Stephen Few’s mantra: “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify” Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Be Anti-Clutter Don’t turn your dashboard into a data repository! Admit it. You include as much information onto a report as possible, primarily to avoid being asked for additional information. We all do it. But in the dashboaBut in the dashboard state of mind, you have to öght the urge to force every piece of data available onto your dashboards. Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Avoid using colors or background ölls to partition your dashboards. De-emphasize borders, backgrounds, and other elements that deöne dashboard areas. Avoid applying fancy effects such as gradients, pattern ölls, shadows, glows, soft edges, and other and other formatting. Don’t try to enhance your dashboards with clip art or pictures. Keep it Clean Avoid the fancy formatting Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Lean on Layout Use layout and placement to draw focus Instead of using bright colors or exaggerated sizing differences, leverage location and placement to draw focus to the most important components on your dashboard. A A FASCINATING AND TRUE FACT: Studies show that users pay particular attention to the upper-left and middle-left of a document. Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Always use commas to make numbers easier to read. SHOW THIS: 2,345 NOT THAT: 2345 Only use decimal places if that level of precision is required; there’s rarely a beneöt for showing the decimal places in a dollar amount. SHOW THIS: $123 NOT THAT: $123.45 Likewise in percentages, use only the minimum number of decimalof decimals. SHOW THIS: 43% NOT THAT: 43.21% Format very large numbers to the thousands or millions place. SHOW THIS: 17M NOT THAT: 16,906,714 Format Numbers Effectively Show This, Not That Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Only use the dollar symbol when you need to clarify that you’re referring to monetary values. If you have a chart or table that contains all revenue values, and there’s a label clearly stating this, you can save room and pixels by leaving out the dollar symbol. Format Numbers Effectively Show This, Not That Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Always include a timestamp on your reporting mechanisms. Always include some text indicating when the data for the measures was retrieved. Use descriptive titles for each component on your dashboard. Tighten Titles Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Lightly colored labels give your users the information they need without distracting them from the information displayed. Ideal colors for labels are colors commonly found in nature: soft grays, browns, blues, and greens. It may seem counterintuitive, but: de-emphasize labels by formatting them to hues lighter than the ones used for your data. Label Effectively Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
  • Learn More Pick up a copy today www.wiley.com/buy/9781118842249www.wiley.com/buy/9781118842249 Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports
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