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Posts tagged ‘Stats’

How to Design Web Dashboards That Communicate Actionable Insights

As a web app developer or designer, you have probably played around with the idea of building a web dashboard. Dashboards on modern websites can be helpful tools allowing anyone to take away insights at a glance. Companies that get the right data, ask the right questions and display data in the right way stand out from other web apps.

But sometimes dashboards are only designed as charts for the sake of charts. Recently, Twitter announced they were planning on introducing an analytics platform to help uncover insights in social media campaigns. The tool’s design looks outstanding; overlapping line graphs showing clicks against bar charts showing tweets, plotted out by hour.

Just don’t let the aesthetics fool you. A social media marketer would not be able to glance at the charts and determine how to improve their campaigns with any amount of certainty. This analytics dashboard leans closer to eye candy.

When building a dashboard, remember one thing: All dashboards should communicate information that users will be able to act upon.

The intent behind this post is not to put a spotlight on Twitter. There’s a lot of potential for a Twitter-owned analytics platform.  Instead, put the spotlight on your own web apps.

Take this same perspective we used with Twitter’s dashboard and use it on your own. What kind of implications would users be able to learn from your dashboards? If a chart is strictly showing data points, it’s likely not valuable to a user. Kill those charts. Show your users something they would be able to react to.

For those seeking inspiration, here are a few examples of sites using charts and dashboards well.

Instead of just charting your total assets against your total debt, shows how your net worth changes over time.


Adobe Business Catalyst

Business Catalyst gives users a snapshot of their businesses’ health, beyond the latest metrics or sales.


Facebook Ads

Facebook estimates your campaigns’ reach, which uses marketers own words to indicate campaign performance.


Google Analytics

The mother of all web dashboards does not disappoint. Google Analytics works fine when web owners install a tracking code, but the real power is unlocked once businesses begin tracking revenue and conversion data. Suddenly, web design decisions can be motivated by previous sales.



We wrote about Crowdbooster last year because of the value their dashboards bring to people on Twitter. Crowdbooster helps marketers understand what’s working with their social media campaigns or, more importantly, what’s not working.

Paditrack: Free Website Conversion Tracking

For anyone who has run a website or marketing campaign, the question you hear each day is “how are we converting?” The service Paditrack allows you to create funnels and watch how users move through each step.

Google Analytics gave us the ability to create goal conversions through multiple points of a website. Online retailers, for example, track how users browse their website, view products, add them to the shopping, and checkout. A goal can be set up to trigger each step in the process. That way, if retailers begin seeing a lot of people abandon the site after they’ve added the product to the shopping cart but before checkout, they now have details they can use to answer business questions, like “why are sales decreasing?” From there, retailers can begin investigating a solution.

Paditrack uses Google Analytics’ data to helps recreate these funnels, but with one exception. While Google Analytics is easily capable of tracking existing conversion goals, Paditrack allows users to create new sets of conversion goals and actually use the existing Google Analytics data to see performance. Instead of waiting months for results on reliable data, you can pivot through data to extract insights in seconds.

Connecting your Google Analytics account to Paditrack could not be simpler. Register for an account, synch with Google Analytics, and begin playing with your data. As we’ve seen with other web apps that connect to outside services, it’s really easy for a web developer to build a convoluted connection process. Paditrack demonstrates they put a lot of thought into how users would use their tools, and it pays off.

Our favorite feature: Paditrack is free. This incredibly powerful tool is available to anyone with a Google Analytics account. With Paditrack, web developers can begin uncovering insights from their data today.