What is a good practice to design dashboard filters?

We’re in the process of optimising a dashboard. We don’t have as much feedback we would have wanted from users (yet), but we believe the concept of the dashboard is complex and would like to simplify the experience.

The data on the dashboard is a combination of graphs showing marketing and sales data like the number of customers we have, the amount of money generated, and tables showing more details.

Those insights could be viewed through 5 different lenses, in other words, you’d have to choose 1 out of 5 different sources of data that points out where these customers came from, for example, paid ads, organic search, direct visits to the website, etc.

Currently, there is also no way to see all those lenses under one view.

What we’re looking for is to optimize the way we:

  1. Introduce the concept of selecting one of the 5 views
  2. Let users understand what each one of these views going to change in the report

We have a bunch of filters that allow these users to view what they care about - like dates, specific countries, industries these customers belong to.

Currently selecting one of the 5 views is also a filter box, however:

  1. We don’t think it’s really a “filter” since as a user, you can’t really un-filter those views.
  2. They are also the focal point of the dashboard, meaning, we assume you’d want as a user to select a view first and then choose filters like dates, etc.

For context, here’s the filter menu. If it’s not clear (which I assume it’s not. the view selector is “Group by”):

I would appreciate any views, help or recommendation.

Hi, Ido @stroletheshow Welcome to UX Mastery!

Before diving into optimizing a dashboard, I’d highly recommend talking to a few users. Some time back, I was asked to redesign a fairy data-heavy dashboard, and, fortunately, the product was for internal use. So, I had access to the actual users. And trust me, it was such a big help!

If you can get hold of even a few users and ask them about how they would use the dashboard, you can use those insights to create views that they want, and then offer filters associated with the data to tweak the view.

A few questions that helped me were:

  • What do you want to find out?
  • What decisions will you make on seeing the dashboard?

If you can get hold of answers to these (or other relevant) questions it would make the task of dashboard design much easier.

In the absence of first-hand data, I’d recommend viewing dashboards of other products to get a feel for how:

  1. Your competitors are approaching the dashboard
  2. What your users are likely already used to / might expect from your dashboard

For example, I like Zoho’s dashboards - they are often quite easy to use and the views are presented from a use-case point of view, instead of a here’s-the-database-do what you-like-with-it approach :wink:

This is not to say that you should copy them, but it’s always good to know what others (especially if they are known to be user-friendly/invest in design) are doing and benefit from their efforts! You needn’t restrict yourself to your industry either. Dashboards of good products are always worth investigating.

I hope this helps :slight_smile:
Best wishes!

PS: I recommend going through this (paid) resource on how to create dashboards. It has some valuable insights on dashboard design and information visualization that might be useful for you: Information Visualization: Getting Dashboards Right | Interaction Design Foundation (IxDF)