How do you choose appropriate visualizations for your dashboard?

Selecting the right visualizations is crucial in making your dashboard effective, engaging, and informative. This guide will show you how: 

Step 1: Understand your data and audience  

While it may be tempting to consider other factors first when choosing visualizations, it is important to remember the primary focus should be on the data itself, the audience, and the story you want to tell.  Consider the following questions: 

  • What kind of data are you working with? (categorical, numerical, time-based, etc.) 
  • Who is the target audience for the dashboard? (executives, managers, analysts, etc.) 
  • What are their needs and expectations? 
  • What is the primary goal or message of the dashboard? 

Step 2: Choose the right visualization type  

Once you understand your data and audience, it’s time to select appropriate visualization types. Here’s a list of common visualization types and their typical use cases: 

  • Bar chart: great for comparing values across categories or displaying trends over time for a small number of periods. 
  • Line chart: excellent for showing trends over time, especially for a larger number of periods. 
  • Pie chart: suitable for illustrating proportions of a whole. 
  • Scatter plot: perfect for showing the relationship between two variables. 
  • Heatmap: useful for visualizing patterns or correlations in large datasets. 
  • Treemap: ideal for displaying hierarchical data or part-to-whole relationships. 
  • Gauge or bullet chart: well-suited for representing progress towards a target or goal. 

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