How to Build Dashboards that Persuade, Inform, and Engage

Jeff Pettiross, Staff User Experience Designer, Tableau

Psychologist Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi has studied flow extensively. Czikszentmihalyi and other researchers found that people experience flow when their skills are engaged and they’re being challenged just the right amount. Flow is correlated with happiness, creativity, and productivity.

So how do you create flow for your audience? As a dashboard designer, it’s your job to create the smoothest possible experience for Tableau, without unwelcome or obtrusive elements. This is how you create build dashboards that persuade, inform, and engage.

Unwrap your brain from the data and focus on your users

As a data professional, you are likely consumed with data in the same way a music professor is consumed with notes. When that scholar teaches a class, they can’t just spill out every single bit of detail they know. An enormous infodump would be overwhelming, and it would probably turn students off, especially younger or non-major students. Good teachers consider the knowledge and needs of their students.

Similarly, it’s crucial for you to set aside your own immersion in the data and ask the questions: What does my audience need? How often will they look at this data? What do they need from it? What do they already know about this subject? Have they used build dashboards before?

If you spend time figuring out the answers to these questions, your build Dashboards that Persuade, Inform, and Engage will be better for the only people who really matter: the people using them.

Adapt your story for your audience

Every data set will have a different audience and different point of view. Let’s say you’re visualizing a dataset about America’s bridges, showcasing those that are substandard and at risk for collapse. One might focus purely on bridge quality while another could use census data to factor in how many people use the bridges.

You could approach this project a few different ways depending on the intention to warn the public, drum up business for a construction company, or to crystallize priorities for the government. It all depends on the audience, their skill level, and their knowledge of the subject. Just as you’re trying to help your audience experience flow, the audience helps you narrow down options for the presentation of data.

To read full download the whitepaper:

How to Build Dashboards that Persuade, Inform, and Engage

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