Tips for Building Dashboards that Reduce Conative load

by Otto Richardson

Day 1 of Dashboard week, and the focus is on integrating accessibility into our dashboard design process. To effectively communicate data, it's vital to consider the diverse spectrum of users, including those with neurodiverse conditions like dyscalculia. In this blog, we'll delve into practical tips for crafting Tableau dashboards that reduce cognitive load and promote inclusivity for all users.

Title Clarity: Provide Key Insights in Chart Titles:

  • Ensure that the titles of your charts convey the primary message or key insight, making it easier for users to grasp the main point

today I learned in my dashboard redesign to reduce cognitive load its sometimes better to transform filter-heavy exploratory functionality into a static dashboard. This shift allows us to title charts with the main takeaway and engage them from the start.

Streamlining Data Presentation

To combat information overload, we've discovered several strategies:

  • Filter Down to Relevant Data: To combat information overload, allow users to filter data to the specific date range or relevant data points they are interested in.
  • Simplify KPIs: Reduce the number of digits in KPIs by rounding numbers (e.g., formatting 2.5 million instead of the exact number). Provide exact figures in tooltips when additional precision is needed.
  • Declutter Layout: Maintain an uncluttered layout by adding padding around charts and logically organizing them. Each chart should have sufficient space to breathe and stand out.

Importantly, reducing overwhelm doesn't mean sacrificing information. Once we've lightened the cognitive load through decluttered layouts, we can enhance charts with labels, in-depth analysis, and annotations, providing valuable context and insights.

Organize: Structuring Information for ClarityWe've recognized the significance of effective organization and structuring of information in accessible dashboard design:

  • Separate Different Forms of Information: Keep distinct types of data, metrics, or calculations separate for clarity.
  • Establish a Logical Flow and Navigation: Organize elements logically to guide users smoothly through the dashboard's narrative.

Contextualize: Enhancing Understanding with ContextIn our journey toward an inclusive dashboard, we've learned the value of contextualization:

  • Contextualize Numbers in Sentences: Embed numbers within sentences or concise explanations to provide context, aiding users in understanding their significance.

User Testing and Feedback:

  • During the design and testing phases, actively involve users who have neurodiverse conditions, such as dyscalculia. Their feedback is invaluable in identifying usability issues and guiding necessary improvements

By adopting these practices, you can create inclusive dashboards that align with the principles of universal design, ensuring accessibility and effectiveness for a wide range of users.

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