Design Patterns
Dashboard Genres
Design Tradoffs
Process & Guidelines
Paper & Material

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Design Tradeoffs

Every design process and design problem is unique in that several parameters must be considered: users, tasks, contexts, devices, etc. Design tradeoffs are inevitable when no solution is optimal, i.e., when the specific parameters of a design problem have contradic- tory knowledge (e.g., guidelines, heuristics, solutions). Dashboard designers can use this knowledge to inform their approach, but other activities (deliberate or otherwise) will be necessary: e.g., reasoning and logic, experimentation and prototyping, user-centered design and evaluation. Decisions may likely influence or conflict with other decisions, causing further design tradeoffs to be necessary, requiring constant iteration towards good design.

Four Parameters

In dashboard design, there are four parameters, mentioned below in no particular order:

Each of these parameters, you can either increase or decrease. For example,

Now, ideally, you want to minimize all of these parameters.

Balancing Parameters

If your data, information, and context allows you to easily minimize all of these parameter you are good. However, in many cases your data and information are too much to minimize all parameters easily. In that case, you need to make tradeoffs

The above schema shows these tradeoffs you are making by trying minimize one component. These tradeoffs are best explained though the metaphor of stress.

The goal of the design process is to optimize the balance of parameters in your dashboard by minimizing the stress in your design.

Let’s look how increasing/decreasing one parameter affects the others.

The same holds true for all mutual relationships between these four paramters. Moreover, you can

This leads us to the following conclusion