The design of executive dashboards varies depending upon the needs of the executives for which they are designed. However, well-designed executive dashboards commonly have the following characteristics:
- Highly graphical in nature and enables the executives to read and understand the key metrics in very little time.
- Tailored to the needs of the executive who uses them. The VP of Sales probably doesn't need to see the total inventory turns or human resource information.
- Starts with a high level view and, by clicking on the relevant graph or map, the user can drill down into more detail. Navigation is easy and intuitive.
- Automatically updated with the latest available data so you're not making decisions based on old information.
One needs to ensure that the dashboard adheres to the following rules of usability:
- Relevance - Ensure that only the relevant information is presented at the top level
- Clarity - Ensure that the data and information are assimilated well and presented in an easy to use way
- Hierarchy - Ensure that the users of the dashboard are easily able to navigate from high level metrics to the details