Dashboards have long been the much maligned visualization vehicle of choice for decision-making in commercial and governmental situations. While the visualization research community has concentrated much of its effort on visual analytics, the commercial success and widespread use of dashboards begs more attention. Critically, dashboards are becoming many peoples’ direct connection to “big data” sources, enabling data democratization and wider access to data.

In this paper, we explore the genre of dashboards through a two-prong approach. We survey the existing literature in business, marketing, and related fields to capture the relevant factors to consider when designing appropriate dashboards and their tools for consumption by different parties, all of which have differing levels of visualization literacy, data literacy, and decision agency. We also collect examples of dashboard designs based on the dimensions derived from our literature search, and identify different clusters of dashboard designs with similar analysis goals, audiences, and decision support.

We call ourselves the “dashboard conspiracy:” a truly diverse collection of authors across Tableau Research, Microsoft Research, and Simon Fraiser University.

This work was presented at IEEE VIS 2018 in Berlin, Germany.

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