Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data

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Overview

Dashboards have become popular in recent years as uniquely powerful tools for communicating important information at a glance. Although dashboards are potentially powerful, this potential is rarely realized. The greatest display technology in the world won't solve this if you fail to use effective visual design. And if a dashboard fails to tell you precisely what you need to know in an instant, you'll never use it, even if it's filled with cute gauges, meters, and traffic ...

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Overview

Dashboards have become popular in recent years as uniquely powerful tools for communicating important information at a glance. Although dashboards are potentially powerful, this potential is rarely realized. The greatest display technology in the world won't solve this if you fail to use effective visual design. And if a dashboard fails to tell you precisely what you need to know in an instant, you'll never use it, even if it's filled with cute gauges, meters, and traffic lights. Don't let your investment in dashboard technology go to waste.

This book will teach you the visual design skills you need to create dashboards that communicate clearly, rapidly, and compellingly. Information Dashboard Design will explain how to:

  • Avoid the thirteen mistakes common to dashboard design
  • Provide viewers with the information they need quickly and clearly
  • Apply what we now know about visual perception to the visual presentation of information
  • Minimize distractions, cliches, and unnecessary embellishments that create confusion
  • Organize business information to support meaning and usability
  • Create an aesthetically pleasing viewing experience
  • Maintain consistency of design to provide accurate interpretation
  • Optimize the power of dashboard technology by pairing it with visual effectiveness

Stephen Few has over 20 years of experience as an IT innovator, consultant, and educator. As Principal of the consultancy Perceptual Edge, Stephen focuses on data visualization for analyzing and communicating quantitative business information. He provides consulting and training services, speaks frequently at conferences, and teaches in the MBA program at the University of California in Berkeley. He is also the author of Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten. Visit his website at www.perceptualedge.com.

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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
Business dashboards must communicate enormous amounts of information almost instantaneously. But, cluttered with gauges, meters, and traffic lights, too many of them simply bewilder their users. This is a problem in visual design -- and Stephen Few has solutions.

Few starts by helping you clarify what your dashboard must communicate and more clearly understand your users’ needs. You’ll learn how to align your designs around the strengths and weaknesses of human perception, simplify them, and make them more useful. You’ll also learn how to avoid 13 common pitfalls -- from inadequate context to useless decoration to just-plain ugliness. Few puts his principles to work in four chapter-length case studies: for sales, telesales, marketing, and the IT organization itself.

Your dashboard users will thank you for reading this book -- and taking its advice to heart. Bill Camarda, from the February 2006 Read Only

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596100162
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/10/2006
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 8.58 (w) x 10.08 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Few has over 20 years of experience as an innovator, consultant, and educator in the fields of business intelligence (a.k.a. data warehousing and decision support) and information design. Through his company, Perceptual Edge, he focuses on the effective analysis and presentation quantitative business information. Stephen is recognized as a world leader in the field of data visualization. He teaches regularly at conferences such as those presented by The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) and DCI, and also in the MBA program at the Haas School of Business at U. C. Berkeley. He is also the author of the book "Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten" (Analytics Press).

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Table of Contents

CopyrightDedicationAbout the AuthorIntroductionAcknowledgmentsChapter 1: Clarifying the VisionChapter 2: Variations in Dashboard Uses and DataChapter 3: Thirteen Common Mistakes in Dashboard Design Chapter 4: Tapping into the Power of Visual PerceptionChapter 5: Eloquence Through SimplicityChapter 6: Effective Dashboard Display MediaChapter 7: Designing Dashboards for UsabilityChapter 8: Putting It All TogetherAppendix A: Recommended ReadingColophon

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2007

    Too Much Axe Grinding, Opinion and Cheap Shots

    Having selected this book from many options, I found I could not get past the writing style of overt axe grinding, opinion and cheap shots at everyone in the Software Industry. And no, I am not in that industry. I am certain there is valuable information to be discovered in this work, but it's a struggle to deal with the author's style of constant axe grinding and self-ingratiation.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    interesting book- poor service

    Informative book-poor delivery service. B&N system of delivery LOST the first order and was difficult upon requests for a re-send. Tracking was poor and ambiguous. In short, get the book from another sources.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 4, 2009

    Great material with great visuals on quality paper.

    The reason why title mentions the paper is because this book is a joy to flip through and read (visually). The colors stand out and make their point, which reinforces the meaning of the book about use of colors for accurate representation of data meaning and relevancy (among other things). The only negative to the entire book experience is that it could have used a better editor, if there even was an editor. the book is filled with first person references. I this... I that... I me mine... Which can be a bit distracting, in an otherwise very professionally written book. While the book hits all the right notes, the flow is sometimes abruptly stopped on phrases like "this dashboard doesn't work for obvious reasons" or "this chart misrepresents relevancy of data". To a professional reading this, the mening of those phrases is obvious and there are certainly enough ideas for solving these problems with more compelling presentation. But not every reader is a professional with experience, and the less experienced reader will have to settle for taking authors word for the fact that this doesn't work, and this is a better way. You can take my word for it too. Stephen's ideas are good, and frequently great, but a good editor would have helped make the content flow a bit better, and make it more accessible to a broader audience.

    Cons aside, the main Pro of the book is that the material is very good. It doesn't bash mainstream designs like the other reviewer said. Instead it picks on the main flaw in mainstream data representation. Too often the designer is woried less about the decisions that the presentation will lend to making, and far more about the first-time-wow appeal, so that the board room full of big wigs that paid for the darn thing could say "NICE! We like all the pretty fluff." Of course once they get to making decisions, they won't have enough data or be lost in organization to make meaningful interpretations and be left with having to make additional discoveries on their own to implement enterprise change. This happens all the time all over today's businesses. So in fact, the bad design IS mainstream, and any self-respecting designer, developer, architect, UI professional, UX professional, statistician, manager, executive, or anyone whose hands touch any of the data presenting materials ought to read this book or a book like this one, and say no to irrelevant ink and useless fluff, and know for a fact, not by a gut feel, the reasons, methods, and principles which make good presentation and cause data to translate to action. BE GONE DATA PUKES!

    Do yourself a favor. Read the book.

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    Posted September 2, 2010

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    Posted September 5, 2010

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    Posted February 22, 2011

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    Posted November 21, 2008

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