Reading data without a proper structure
Picture that you are attending a presentation. The presenter is generally good at conveying the message to the audience, however, the slides are not structured and what should be a visual aid to communicate a certain message, is lost or at least not as strong as it could be. That is often the case when we are to present data through dashboards. We do as we are told and use the right graphs in the right places, but when we are looking at the big picture our minds are not really resting, and we are using the majority of what little time we have to read this, on just to make sense of everything. That is why structuring your dashboard slides are so important.
There is no “the right answer” to this, however, a good rule of thumb is, if you think that your dashboard looks messy or cluttered, is probably because it is. And if that is the case, move stuff around, or even delete if it not essential to your data story, so that it can make room for the stuff that does matter. Thinking that it is good usability to only have one slide to look at it is, to some degree, true. A dashboard should be a one-screen-presentation that needs no scrolling, but it shouldn’t be a one-page-document that takes 15 min to decipher – no a good dashboard is clean, and should take around 3 min to read and understand.