Dashboard Design

10 Power BI Design Principles

Last Updated:
July 21, 2022
10 Power BI Design Principles

Power BI design isn't easy.

Following these Power BI design principles will help you to create a clear, concise and well-designed dashboard.

Before we get started, make sure you've built your Power BI dashboard in the right way (there's no point in making something look fantastic if the foundations are cracked...)

1. Use a consistent theme, layout, and set of visualizations

Following the principle of consistency across the foundations of your dashboards will help your audience compare and understand information faster.

The quicker your audience are able to process the information you show them, the easier it will be for them to engage with and then retain the insights.

2. Color Palette

Color is one of the most important design principles. A consistent color palette will not only highlight valuable insights but also improve audience retention.

When it comes to color you should:

  • Stay consistent
  • Don't use too many colors, choose 2-3 colors, and then use gradients for emphasizing.
  • To minimize mental effort for the user, use the same color for matching items across all charts.

See more on the importance of color in this article.

3. Include what's important

The key to your dashboard's success is content. You need to only show the most useful metrics and avoid getting carried away.

Start with the KPI's and goals you've already defined, making sure that everything you add ties back to the purpose of your dashboard.

If you find yourself struggling to fit all the content into one dashboard, make another one.

4. Add clear headings and labels

Using clear headings and labels helps to add clarity and context to the information you've provided. This principle will also give your audience the ability to extract valuable insights at a glance, eliminating any confusion.

Using headings will reduce repetition, using them to group the same metric.

Keep your labels short, you don't want them to clutter the rest of the dashboard or interfere with the data. You can also use abbreviations and symbols to help.

5. Round your numbers

Too much detail can make minor changes seem major and can distract from what's important. You don't want your dashboard to be filled with decimal places, so don't include more detailed precision than is necessary.

Minor elements are also generally not needed for telling your data story effectively.

6. Group related metrics

Grouping related metrics together not only positions your content more logically but makes it easier for your users to find.

Metrics can be grouped in many different ways such as by product, period, or region.

Using this principle will make your design more attractive, so it's good to spend some time experimenting with which is most appropriate for your dashboard.

7. Position and Size

Using position and size emphasizes what is the most important information in the dashboard. This creates a hierarchy that makes it easy for the audience to scan and take away the main points.

To create a flow through the dashboard, use consistent sizing between the different elements.

The best location in your dashboard is the top left corner, as this is where the user will look first when reading. So, put your most important metrics in this position.

8. Add context

Without context how is your audience going to know if the numbers you've included are good or bad?

Context is needed to provide meaning to the data. For example, if you don't provide comparisons for your data, e.g. against a target or prior period, it's going to be difficult for your audience to understand the significance.

From your dashboard, your data needs to motivate action from your users, without context they will be unable to see where to direct their attention.

9. Simplicity

Focus on simplicity in your dashboard. Remember the dashboard you create must tell a clear data-story that users can quickly glance at and take away the main points.

It may be tempting to go overboard, but there is no need to add backgrounds, effects, or pictures unless there is a specific reason to apply to do so.

Be careful with font, color, and size, for your labels and legend as this can quickly clutter your dashboard.

10. Continually Evolve

To remain relevant your dashboard needs to constantly evolve in response to changes.

To help improve and enhance your dashboard, ask for feedback and input from your users e.g. around layout and feel. This will mean that you always stay on the same page and are creating the most effective dashboard.

Failure to evolve your dashboard over time will only hinder your success.

Numerro makes design accessible for anyone with a complete design toolkit that makes it simple and easy to create beautiful and unique dashboards. The toolkit will seamlessly integrate design best practices whilst maintaining consistency to save you hours in production time. Let Numerro help you take control of your design process!

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