Gather and understand your dashboard requirements: what to do before creating a dashboard | data box blog (2023)

Surfboard designers would probably agree that the audience is the most important factor to consider when designing a board. Still, despite the fact that this is considered the essential part of theboard design processMeeting with stakeholders and end users to discuss and agree on deliverables is often omitted. Nonetheless,most companies still trusthaving a data analyst walk them through the dashboard and explain the data presented.

To get the most out of every dashboard you create, including ensuring your target audience understands it, before creating a dashboard you should go through a discovery process that will help you identify exactly what the user needs.

In this guide, learn why gathering dashboard requirements is so important and what steps to take before creating or designing a BI dashboard.

We also spoke with 37 respondents to learn about their processes and get some tips. Of these people, 45.95% work in B2C, 24.32% are in the B2B industry and the remaining 29.73% are agencies or consultants in the field of B2B marketing, digital or media services.

All of these people we interviewed have panel experience. About 2 out of 3 have been creating and actively using dashboards for some time. And about a third have just started using them. It is also worth noting that 59% of them use various dashboard reporting tools, while 41% use specialized tools.dashboard reporting software(like data box).

In general, this is what we will cover:

  • Why is it important to collect panel requirements?
  • Types of evaluations carried out for the development of the panel
  • Tips for collecting panel requirements from end users

let's dive

Why is it important to collect panel requirements?

Just as it's important to understand a company's goals before planning a campaign to achieve them, it's essential to understand the dashboard requirements before creating one.

Knowing what stakeholders are trying to achieve helps you create a dashboard that meets stakeholder expectations and is relevant to them.

Above all, it's important to understand end-user requirements so you can build a dashboard that delivers the data they're looking for and tells a story that helps them make better business decisions.

A well-documented panel requirements report will result in the following:

  • Address business goals
  • Address data, technical and usage needs
  • Discover current and future needs
  • Save time by providing stakeholders with a constant point of reference

Related:Dashboard design ideas: 7 design challenges the experts faced and tips for overcoming them

Types of evaluations carried out for the development of the panel

To better understand yourboard hearing requirements, perform the following four types of evaluation:

  • business evaluation. A business assessment is intended to help you understand your business objectives and how well equipped you are to achieve them. The best way to conduct this assessment is to look at the company's KPIs. It will help you learn about a company's health, past performance and future potential.
  • data evaluation. Next comes a preview of the available data and its completeness. Some things to consider include figuring out how accurate the data is, how complex it is, whether it's relevant to the goals a company is trying to achieve, and how up-to-date it is.
  • User group rating. This involves profiling the people involved in the dashboard creation process. Because many people are involved in the process, from consumer stakeholders to data providers, it's important that you understand each group's requirements and usage patterns.
  • security assessment. As few people are involved in this process, it is essential that you also keep security in mind; that's what this last review is about. Find answers to questions like how users will authenticate to access the dashboard, what security checks will be implemented, etc.
Gather and understand your dashboard requirements: what to do before creating a dashboard | data box blog (2)

The experts we spoke with said that the enterprise assessment is the most valuable type of assessment for identifying dashboard development requirements for their organizations.

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Gather and understand your dashboard requirements: what to do before creating a dashboard | data box blog (3)

And here's another one...

Gather and understand your dashboard requirements: what to do before creating a dashboard | data box blog (4)

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8 Tips for Gathering End Users' Control Panel Requirements

Now, to learn how you can best discover panel requirements, let's look at the processes the experts have: the questions they ask and who they collaborate with.

Here is a list of the guidelines followed for details:

  1. Identify stakeholder objectives to suggest dashboard metrics
  2. Adopt a questions-first approach
  3. Understand how end users interact with the dashboard
  4. Identify which KPIs are most important
  5. Create a step-by-step workflow
  6. Collaborate early on dashboard design
  7. Choose frame type before creating it
  8. Reuse analyzed data to create useful dashboards

1. Identify stakeholder objectives to suggest dashboard metrics

Creating usable dashboards comes down to having a strong grip on stakeholder objectives. But instead of assuming what they want to achieve, ask them.

Only when you have a solid understanding of the purpose can you finalize the type of dashboard you want to create, work on its design, and choose the metrics to display on the dashboard.

ANthe circuitIn particular, Fernando López shares that they seek to understand stakeholder objectives so that the panel can tell a better and more relevant story.

According to Lopez, "Each dashboard should tell a story visually, so we work with stakeholders to determine a common end goal and work backwards from there, making suggestions for metrics that can help keep the 'story' on track." good road".

(Video) How to build Interactive Excel Dashboards that Update with ONE CLICK!

“Typically, the metrics that we all agree on are included, while those that not everyone considers important are still available, but they don't occupy the main space of the dashboard”, explains López.

“Once we agreed which metrics are most important, we worked to narrow down the metrics in the main dashboard to avoid creating too much confusion. We cannot dilute our main KPIs to get more data; in this case, more is not always better.”

PROFESSIONAL ADVICEWhen creating a winning dashboard, be extremely selective with the metrics you present. This is the only way to create a focused and easy to understand dashboard.

ANInstrumentalAlso, Will Yang shares that the team starts goals first. “We've found that the best way to identify panel requirements is to start with the end goal. What are we trying to achieve with this advice?”

“Once we set the goal, we work backwards to identify the specific metrics and data points that need to be included,” says Yang. “This process helps ensure that we only have the relevant and necessary information.”

“In addition, we involved stakeholders from all affected departments in the requirements gathering process. This ensures that everyone has an opportunity to provide feedback and that the final product meets everyone's needs.”

It's also the key to creating a frame that meets all of your frame requirements.

In short, “Effectively identifying the dashboard's requirements is essential to creating a valuable and impactful tool. Without a clear understanding of what's required, it's easy to get lost in the sea of ​​data and lose sight of the big picture. By taking the time to carefully consider the purpose of the panel and involving all relevant parties, you can set yourself up for success,” advises Yang.

Related:Goal-based reporting: everything you need to know

2. Adopt a question-leading approach

The best way to understand end users' strategic goals and objectives is to ask therightQuestions.

brenton driveJonathan Saeidian talks about his question-based process for understanding panel requirements. “The process for effectively identifying dashboard requirements in my organization is to first identify the problem and then find the solution.”

Here's how the process works: "I start by asking a series of questions about what's going on with our business and what we're trying to achieve, and then I try to figure out what information would help us achieve our goals."

“Once we've identified what we're looking for, we can figure out how it should look on the dashboard,” continues Saeidian.

“This process is effective because it helps me think about all aspects of the problem:

  • What are we trying to achieve?
  • What kind of information do we need to make this happen?
  • How do we collect this information?
  • How can we present it in a way that makes sense?

And it helps me to think about not just one aspect of the problem, but all aspects, so that when I'm designing something new or building it myself, I know exactly how it all fits together.”

Related:7 data analysis questions to improve your business reporting process

3. Understand how end users interact with the dashboard

Another important step in understanding the dashboard requirements is visualizing how end users will interact with it: do they need it to get a quick overview of the data, or are they going to use it for in-depth data analysis, for example?

“For our customers, we start by identifying what the company wants in their dashboard. For example, if it's for business purposes, we'll ask questions like: "What data do you need to see?" or "How does this help you make better decisions?" shares Mark Ronald fromYes Wizard LLC.

“Then we make sure we understand why this data is important. Sometimes it's because it's a key metric that drives business decisions, but other times it's because our client wants to communicate with their team members easily and quickly.”

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“We also look at how much time people spend on the dashboard, if at all, and how much they use it on a daily basis,” says Ronald.

“It is very important to remember that not all users will be able to use all the features of the panel. But they should still have access to everything they need without going through multiple screens again.”

With that said, Ronald also shares an important warning. “At first, the process of getting to the ideal board is one of trial and error. The reason for this is that as the dashboard is used, users realize what is needed and what is not. In some cases, it takes a while for an organization to get the right dashboard."

So remember, patience is key. With each board you create, be sure to get feedback on it to learn how to best refine it to meet your target audience's requirements.

Related:How to Create Actionable Dashboards: 5 Best Practices (and Dashboard Examples)

4. Identify which KPIs are most important

“For me, I usually start by identifying which KPIs are MOST important,” says Dustin Kapper ofsubscription payments.

“If you think hard about each one, it might seem that each KPI is critical to the success of the business, which is often not the case. While most KPIs are important compared to the top-level KPIs, these are the most important.”

“You can generally categorize these KPIs into two high-level categories: Strategic and Operational,” notes Kapper.

  • “Operational KPIs.Most operational KPIs are real-time metrics used to develop strategic KPIs. Operational dashboards vary by department and delve into each individual metric, sometimes rendering the same data in two or three different images.
  • Strategic KPIs.They are the ones who determine the success or failure of a business. Strategic KPIs are usually a sum of micro KPIs for each department in the company. This allows an executive to gain a scalable view of the overall health of a company without spending hours reviewing less relevant data.”

You need a combination of these two KPIs. But, as Kapper points out, identify themoreKPIs important above all else. Also, remember that "It's easy to get caught up in the micro KPIs, but business success is found in the macro." So make sure you don't get trapped under the weight of daily micro KPIs alone.

Related:KPI development: 13 tips on how to create KPIs that reflect your strategic priorities

5. Create a step-by-step workflow

Creating a workflow to identify dashboard requirements helps you save time while ensuring you don't miss any important questions or steps along the way.

A workflow also ensures that the quality of the insights you discover is excellent. For example, consider the process followed inalways wallpaper.

Luke Lee explains, “In my organization, effectively identifying dashboard requirements starts with an initial meeting between the data analytics team and the business owners. In this meeting, we discuss the company's overall goals and identify which specific metrics will be most helpful in achieving those goals.”

“Once the business owners approved the metrics, we worked with our developers to prototype what the dashboards would look like,” continues Lee. “These prototypes are then presented to entrepreneurs for feedback.”

“Once the dashboards are finalized, we make sure to provide training to all users on how to navigate and interpret the data. By following these steps, we can ensure that our dashboards meet the needs of our business users.”

If you're new to creating dashboards, you can always start by replicating another expert's process (take any of the ones discussed here, for example). Or combine multiple processes to create a workflow that works for you.

In any case, it is essential to note that since building dashboards based on stakeholder requirements is a trial and error process, creating a workflow to drill down to dashboard requirements is also necessary. It will take time to perfect.

6. Collaborate early on the board design

Another valuable tip here is to make sure you've worked out the layout of the board before creating it.

This is a hat tip toSignWell'sRuben Gamez, who shares: “We've found that creating the right frame as a team is much easier if we decide on the right layout in advance. From there, we discuss what information is important and move it to prime time in the upper left corner of the screen.”

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“Once we've determined key data points and positioned them, we can group charts and data with comparable metrics next to each other to prioritize simplicity,” notes Gamez.

“By creating these groupings, we can better see how our metrics relate to each other and collectively choose to remove data that is not as relevant to our cause.”

7. Choose frame type before creating it

Another important task before diving into creating dashboards isUnderstand the type of boardnecessary.

Brian Hong writes about how they do it inInfintech Projects. “To effectively identify the dashboard requirements in my organization, I first identify the type of dashboard we want to create.”

“For example, if the company wants to create a dashboard that shows data about its sales and marketing campaigns, I'll first look at the types of data relevant to each of those campaigns. Then I decide what information should be displayed on each screen. For example, if we want to show the number of new customers we acquire each quarter and how much they spend on average on our product offerings, we need to know how many new customers we acquire each quarter so we can calculate an average amount spent by them."

“Once I've identified what's needed and how it should be displayed, I determine how long each screen should take to be useful for decision making (ie when there are many screens with similar information),” says Hong. .

Food to go? Once you know the stakeholder objectives, calculate which metrics need to be added to the dashboard (including their exact location) and what information needs to be highlighted.

It's also helpful to decide how long each screen should be; if you need to create pencil sketches for this before prototyping, do it. However, if you are using Databox to create your dashboards, you can check out the hundreds of templates available on ourmodel galleryfor some inspiration on how to create your own.

8. Reuse analyzed data to create useful dashboards

By last,LinkGraph'sManick Bhan has another helpful piece of advice. According to Bhan, it's best to start with available data to create valuable dashboards.

In the words of Bhan, “The starting point is to understand what data is already being analyzed in the organization. We asked our analysts across all departments to share what metrics and datasets they regularly analyze.”

“Replicating existing reports with dashboards ensures that the dashboard is usable and actionable,” recommends Bhan. "So we have a continuous improvement process that is ad-hoc and not formalized."

Let us build your first board for free

In summary, it's important to note that creating a dashboard without first understanding your audience's requirements is like playing darts in the dark. There are so many chances that your panel will hit the target or fall off.

So, to maximize your chances of success, it's best to start by taking the time to meet with stakeholders and ask them about their goals.

From there, create metrics that will help you measure those goals. Decide how you will display them and where exactly you will place them on the board. Also, don't forget to come up with a design before diving into the actual design part.

Sounds like a lot to do? You can then focus on gathering the requirements from the stakeholder panel and let Databox handle the rest.

With Databox, you can create dashboards from scratch, in your preferred layout, or simply fill in your data in a pre-built dashboard by downloading one of our templates.

In both cases, the board is very easy to create. And it's easy to customize too: change the color, data visualizations and tile size, or add, remove and reposition metrics as you see fit.

And if you are still stuck somewhere, contact our support team andwe will help you create your first board for free. Sign up today forcreate an easy to understand and actionable dashboardin just a few minutes.

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