How I design dashboards in Data Studio — Part 1: Data hierarchy and telling your story

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Tell them a story in their own language

Understanding your audience

This is the most frequently overlooked step in building a dashboard. But I’d argue it’s the most important. Know your audience and understand their needs.

  1. The user(s) of your dashboards
  2. Whoever you report to for the project (typically a PM)
  3. Whoever signs off on the budget
  • What is my user’s job? What is their level of proficiency?
  • How familiar are they with good data practices? Will this person know the difference between correlation and causation?
  • Will this tool make their job easier or harder? What part of their job could this dashboard improve?
  • What (if any) expectations do they have about this dashboard?
  • How much time do they spend on the part of their job related to my dashboard? Does this dashboard actually matter to them or is it just another tool that they have to learn to use?
  • What does the project manager need to show their boss to justify their role in the project? Do they just need to show them a cool looking dashboard or do they need to show that the dashboard actually improved a KPI?
  • What is the person approving the budget expecting as a deliverable and what do they need to justify the expense of the project?

Tell them a story in their own language

Now that you know your audience you can start to build a framework for the dashboard.



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Josh Cottrell-Schloemer

Josh Cottrell-Schloemer

Building data-focused products. Startups acquired=1. Hobby = making Google Data Studio & Excel beautiful.