The Psychology Behind Information Dashboards

With its interactive and intuitive interface and its ability to visualize data in a single screen, the information dashboard is becoming a critical tool in the hands of the business user.

Users like being in control. Whether it’s a personal finance dashboard that makes you conscious of you spending trends or an enterprise marketing dashboard that helps you keep track of your marketing budgets, both heighten your awareness of a situation, giving you the sense of control you crave.

It is in our very nature to want and use all things beautiful, as the characteristic gives us a sense of pleasure, meaning and/or satisfaction. Beauty is important to take into consideration because the more visually appealing a dashboard is, the more likely one will use it and continue using it.

The human mind can’t store much information in short term memory and this is especially true when they are bombarded with multiple abstract or unusual pieces of data in rapid succession. By displaying all relevant information on a single screen within a user’s eye span, dashboards reduce the dependence on the short term memory. You don’t have to remember anything because it’s all there in front of your eyes.

The principles of good design tell us that in all things we should seek an elegant simplicity. The objective of a dashboard is to transform data into information that is easy for the user to understand. Graphs and gauges can tell you a lot mor than plain numbers can.

Summing-up: A dashboard is an easy to read, often single page, real-time user interface, showing a graphical presentation of the current status (snapshot) and historical trends of an organization’s key performance indicators (KPIs) to enable instantaneous and informed decisions to be made at a glance.

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