Dashboards

Best Practices

Overview

Dashboards offer the ability to use a single source of data to drive multiple visualizations.  Each visualization in a dashboard is linked with shared functionality such as dashboard-wide filtering.  A site visitor’s filter selection cascades across all data visualizations to provide different perspectives on the data.

Note: The initial release (August 2021) provides a technical foundation for dashboards.  The first iteration of dashboards meets some immediate business needs. However, feedback from our users will determine the functionality for future business needs. With the foundation established, we will continue to expand the functionality in upcoming releases.

The picture below is a static dashboard example featuring a bar chart and three data bites.  Go to examples at the bottom of this page to try out “live” dashboards.

Visualization

Screen Capture of example of a dashboard Data Visualization in wcms

1. Filters

Filters can be configured to give a page visitor the ability to customize their view at the dashboard level.  When a filter is selected, the changes apply to all elements within the dashboard.  Note: The dashboard filters you create influence the working logic of the individual visualizations, so you should configure the dashboard level filters first to avoid conflicts with the individual visualizations.

2. Dashboard Elements

Most visualizations available in the data visualization content editor are available in the dashboard editor. These categories include charts, maps, and miscellaneous elements.  The arrangement of the elements within the dashboard should look familiar to the page builder in the WCMS.  A drag-and-drop editor makes layout more versatile.

Usage

Dashboards allow you to provide several perspectives on a data set in one glance.  Highlighted information reacts to the filters selected by the user, providing a customized experience.

Use:

  • When several visualizations require common filtering.
  • When relationships between visualizations need to be emphasized.

Don’t Use:

  • When one visualization could support the required communication alone.

Other Guidance

  • Dashboard Title:  Good titles are invaluable. Your dashboard title should be long enough so that your audience can make sense of the relationships between the elements.   A glance at the title should clearly convey what the dashboard contains. The title should also suggest the kind of filters available to the user.
  • Visual Clutter:  Consider the mental burden you are placing on your users.  Make decisions on which visualizations to include and what settings to select based on overall clarity and usability.  Consult with your UX specialist when in doubt.
  • Data Source:  The data source makes your graphic more reputable. It also allows those who are interested to dig deeper.
  • Data Series:  Follow the best practices provided for each visualization to build the data best supported by each element selected for the dashboard.

Customization

Most customization occurs at the level of the individual visualization elements. You can set options such as color palette separately for each element.  Make certain you keep the overall dashboard in mind as you set up the component elements.

  • photo icon
    Go to ExamplesSee examples on this page that illustrate key options.

Examples

Dashboards are an interactive data visualization type.  Each example shows a different way a site visitor can be provided visual information with differing levels of customization.

Dashboard Filtered by Location and Type

This dashboard allows the user to filter the information shown by Location and by the type of data. See example data file excel icon[XLS – 15 KB]

Dashboard Filtered by Location and Year

This dashboard allows the user to filter the information shown by Location and by Year. See example data file excel icon[XLS – 4 KB]

Dashboard with No Filter

A dashboard can be built without filtering to highlight a specific data set.  See example data file excel icon[XLS – 971 B].

Page last reviewed: August 18, 2021
Content source: WCMS / Template Team