Three Dynamic Texts to Include in Every Dashboard

Originally posted in Medium by Jenna Eagleson.

After the previous article about Communication With Data, What Is It?, we think that sharing best practices on how to make dashboards business-relevant would be easier for people to inject data viz techniques into operational work. Let’s get started with the simplest element: text.

“While dashboard is a hotly debated topic, for the purposes of this story, I am referring to a dashboard as a collection of data visuals that a user can interact with. For example, a turnover dashboard that has a visual that shows headcount over time and a visual that shows employees by location with a drop down to select the Department of interest.”

Title of the visual reflects the department and location filters being selected

The trick to utilizing text to make your visualizations more effective is to use it sparingly and to make it dynamic.

In every single dashboard that I make, I include at least three dynamic texts. They are used to:

  1. Inform the user about the underlying data
  2. Draw attention to filters
  3. Articulate takeaways

Okay, my intrepid warrior, let’s go through exactly why and how to utilize dynamic text to make your dashboards more effective, efficient, and enjoyable.

 

1. Inform the user about the underlying data

 
Dynamic text in title shows most current month and dynamic text in footnote shows the date the data was last updated

 

2. Draw attention to filters

With a static title, someone might think they are looking at full company headcount instead of the Finance Department Headcount.
Headcount title reflects no department being selected.
Headcount title updates to reflect selected department filter.

 

3. Articulate takeaways

 
The title text dynamically updates to show the top case category to the previous month.

Next steps:


Hope you enjoy reading this.

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