The purpose of this article is to introduce top tips for building Boards in Pigment and to provide inspiration for new modelers on Board design. 🎨
Table of contents
Types of Boards
There are three main types of Boards:
- Reporting Boards: These are the main outputs of the app and contain the information required for users to achieve the purpose of the model.
- Planning and Inputs: Where users will enter data that will be used in the planning process/calculations.
- Admin & Data: Boards for Administrators where they manage the model settings. Example contents, user access, data, data quality checks, model settings.
The type of Board should be considered when building Boards in Pigment. 👨🏻🏫
Top Tips for building Boards in Pigment
1. Consider your audience
Designing with your end-users in mind is probably the most important factor that you have to consider. To be effective, you should put yourself in your end-users shoes and build the Board from their point of view. You should engage the users and ensure you have a full understanding of the information they need and what they want to do with that information.
Who is going to use the Board? What requirements do they have? What language and terms are they expecting to see? Are there any images and colors that can be used to bring familiarity to the end-user? These are all important considerations when designing a Board.
2. Consider the goal and story of the Board
Be clear on what you’re trying to achieve. All widgets should contribute to achieving the specific purpose of the Board. The widgets should be presented in a way that tells the story of the data.
3. Choose relevant widgets
Choosing the right widgets can be key when creating a Board. This could be using bar charts to compare items in the same category, using line charts when you want to show how a pattern changes across a time/Dimension or just using the correct KPIs that align with the purpose of the Board. Designing a Board with suitable widgets can greatly improve how information is communicated.
4. Consider dimensionality
Dimensionality on a Board should be clear, consistent and intuitive. Widget Pages should adhere to the Board selectors unless they’ve been appropriately titled or have individual selectors available on the widget.
For example, if you have a Cost Center as a Board selector, it is expected for most of the widgets on the Board to have Cost Center as a Page selector. Otherwise, it can be confusing for end-users if they are changing a Board selector and a widget's data isn’t updating.
5. Keep it simple
Don’t overload users with an abundance of widgets and Dimensions. As mentioned earlier, each Board should have a specific purpose and all widgets on the page should contribute to that purpose. Cluttering the Board with information will only detract from what’s important. If groups of end-users have significantly different requirements, it might be easier to have separate Boards for each group.
6. Provide context to key figures and Important deviations
How will users know if the numbers are meaningful? Can you highlight areas that require action? It is important to signpost key information and analysis on Boards. It’s also important to appropriately name all widgets, units and axes. Where possible you should provide comparison values. You can also use colors to bring attention to key figures or actions.
7. Be consistent
Consider using consistent language, color schemes, layouts and visualization. It will allow information to be digested easier and the users will have a standardized layout that can be anticipated when they open a Board.
8. Round your numbers
This adds clarity to data, allows users to absorb the information at a glance and reduces the chance of a mistake. You should also be consistent with your rounding.
9. Try a top down approach
Add a summary at the top of the Board, and detail at the bottom. Alternatively, you could have summary Boards that contain links to detailed Boards.
10. Include instructions on Boards that are complicated or require data entry
This will reduce the number of mistakes and questions that arise.
11. Consider building a Landing Board
Landing Boards help provide the user with context for the application and provides the best end-user experience for navigation.
12. Obtain regular feedback
Whether you're in the design, implementation or production stage, it’s important to obtain regular feedback from end-users. Designing Boards should be an iterative process, you should ask the team questions like:
- What widgets are most useful and why?
- What widgets are least useful and why?
- What’s missing and should be included?
Here are some example Boards by Use Case. You can use these as inspiration for your own designs.
Are there any top tips that I’ve missed? Disagree with any of the items above? Let me know in the comments below.