Spotlight on Dashboard Service
This month we’re chatting to Sanford Busse, Associate Director of Data Visualization.
What does the Dashboard Service team do, and what’s your role within it?
The Dashboard Service team provides online dashboards that are bespoke and responsive to the needs of every market research project.
Our service is a complete end to end solution, so you don’t have to worry about any infrastructure or hardware related costs to creating aesthetically stunning online dashboards that are ready to deliver data to your clients. We also provide Design Consultancy on existing reports in a variety of different formats within the market research industry.
My role as Associate Director of Data Visualization is to ensure the team is delivering top quality service to our partners in a timely and efficient manner. I also assist in in project delivery from an operational standpoint.
So you’re a market research savvy dashboard service. How does that affect the process and end result?
We as a team can communicate more effectively with our partners in market research due to our familiarity with industry related terms and concepts. We’re able to deliver on requests more readily because we have the MR specific experience necessary to draw from. The requests we receive are often not new concepts – it’s highly likely that we’ve already come up against the same requests in previous studies we’ve already done, so we can pull from those experiences specifically.
What are the benefits of using a dashboard for the different stakeholders?
Accessibility is the main concern in report deliverables, and online dashboards allow stakeholders to easily access content from any location, and on any device type. A recipient no longer has to save off cumbersome static reports in a hard location to be referenced at a later date.
Another benefit of dashboards is that custom requests for uncommon data splits will no longer be necessary. Users can login to the dashboard and pull whatever slices of data they need through the use of filters and included drilldown functionality. This also frees up the valuable time of the Researcher or Analyst so they can focus on other deliverables, rather than generating custom reports that are subsets of the whole report originally delivered.
One of the biggest advantages of dashboards is their ability to create connections with the end user. Users tend to be more actively engaged with the data they are consuming if they have a vested interest in it. This interest is generated in dashboards by being able to interact with what is being presented to them through the variety of user-initiated actions available in dashboards – simple clicks, drilldowns, navigation and hovers are all good examples.
What makes a dashboard effective, and on the flipside, what makes them ineffective?
Dashboards are primarily meant to showcase only a handful of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), so effective dashboards use the ‘less is more’ approach. Too much information can easily overwhelm an end user – if things are not well organized on page with clear context and direction, your end user will lose interest, resulting in them not using the display you’ve given them.
For example, there is a term called “Non-Data Related Pixels”, which refers to any space on the canvas that is being taken up by something that cannot give any context to the data being displayed. All of this should be removed from your dashboard as it detracts from the storytelling. An example of this is gridlines on charts – if there are labels on the axis intervals of your charts already, you don’t need gridlines as they will only create clutter for your client to sift through when viewing the dashboard.
Once a dashboard has been deployed, what’s next?
Maintenance is a key aspect following deployment. You should be checking in to make sure your end users are getting what they need from the dashboard on a regular basis. If it’s not useful to your end users they won’t use it, so you might have to change up what is contained within your dashboard to ensure it’s continuously aligned with their needs. Regular data updates are also necessary if your study is an ongoing tracker that requires data appends from wave to wave.
Another element to consider is enticing the end users to login and view the data themselves on a more regular basis. One way of doing this is by sending reminders, such as quarterly infographics that contain some examples from the dashboard.