June 29, 2022
Ryan Buick
Ryan Buick

A Complete Guide to Data Visualization Dashboards

Data visualization dashboards are essential for digital marketers, business leaders, and companies. They provide a way to view key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be used to improve decision-making.

However, data visualization dashboards are not always easy to use. Here we’ll tell you how to effectively use data visualization dashboards, including what data visualization is, how to choose the right data visualization tools for your needs, and the best data visualization dashboards available for your service.

What Is a Data Visualization Dashboard?

When it comes to data, the more information you can gather and understand, the better. This is where data visualization dashboards come in. So, what is data visualization? Data visualization compiles data into an easy-to-read format using data visualization software, so you can quickly glean insights and make business decisions based on that data.

Data visualization dashboards provide an at-a-glance view of key business metrics and can be used for various purposes, including monitoring KPIs, troubleshooting issues, and identifying opportunities. You can customize these dashboards to display specific data sets relevant to the user, making it easy to see trends and patterns. Additionally, data visualization dashboards can be interactive, allowing users to drill down into data sets for more detailed analysis.

Dashboards for data visualization can also improve decision-making by providing data that is easy to understand. Suppose you’re trying to decide whether to invest in a new marketing campaign. In that case, you can use the dashboard’s data visualization to see how effective previous campaigns have been. Data visualization dashboards are essential for any business that wants to make data-driven decisions.

Common Pitfalls of Data Visualization Dashboards

Not Knowing Your Audience

One of the most common pitfalls of data visualization is not considering who your audience is. Different people will want to see different things from your dashboard, so it’s important to tailor your visuals accordingly. For example, if you’re presenting to a group of executives, they’ll likely be more interested in high-level overviews and trends, whereas a group of data analysts might be more interested in the details.

Not Having a Clear Purpose

Before you start creating visuals, it’s important to think about what you want to achieve with your dashboard. Do you want to track progress toward a goal? Do you want to compare different data sets? Once you know your purpose, you can design your dashboard accordingly.

Trying to Show Too Much Data

Most people want to show as much data as possible on your dashboard, but this can be counterproductive. Too much data can make your dashboard confusing and difficult to interpret, so it’s important to include only the essential information. When in doubt, less is more.

Not Using The Right Data

Another common mistake is using the wrong data in your dashboard. Just because you have a lot of data doesn’t mean it’s all relevant or useful. When choosing data for your dashboard, make sure it’s accurate and actionable. Otherwise, it’s just clutter.

How To Effectively Use a Visualization Tool and Interactive Dashboards

Visualization tools, i.e., data visualization software and dashboards, can be used to improve decision-making by providing easily understood data. It has become a common business practice for business leaders to use these analytics in decision-making. Here’s how to effectively use a visualization tool and interactive dashboards:

Identify Your Metrics and KPIs To Measure

The first step to effectively using data visualization tools is identifying the metrics and KPIs you want to measure. This will help you choose the proper data visualization tools for your needs.

There are a variety of data visualization dashboards formats available. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. You will need to decide which data visualization dashboard is best for your needs based on the metrics and KPIs you want to measure.

Connect to Your Data Sources

The next step is to connect to your data sources, including databases, data warehouses, and apps.

A database is a collection of relational data that computers can access. On the other hand, a data warehouse is a storage space for columnar data. This makes queries in warehouses much faster than in databases. Apps are programs that access data in data warehouses and databases and link it to dashboards for visualization.

Determine the Type of Dashboard Needed

The next step is to determine the type of dashboard needed. You can create data visualization dashboards for as many roles as is feasible. Here are a few data visualization dashboards:


Marketing dashboards track marketing KPIs. These KPIs can include metrics like:

  • Website traffic
  • Conversion rates
  • Cost per lead
  • Net burn rate
  • Startup runway
  • Qualified lead velocity rate
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Activation rate
  • Customer retention rate
  • Annual recurring revenue (ARR)
  • Churn rate

Marketing dashboards can improve decision-making by providing data that is easy to understand. For example, if you are deciding whether to invest in a new marketing campaign, you can use a marketing dashboard data visualization to see how effective previous campaigns have been.


Sales dashboards track sales KPIs. These KPIs can include these metrics:

  • Revenue
  • Margin
  • Close rate
  • Market penetration
  • Win rate (by team or individual)
  • Average sales cycle length
  • Sales ramp-up time
  • Cost of sales ratio
  • Weighted sales pipeline
  • Average sales cycle length

The data for these KPIs are typically pulled from a CRM system. Sales dashboards also often have pipeline data, which shows the number of deals in each stage of the sales process.

Pipeline data is crucial because it allows sales managers to see where deals are getting stuck. This data can also be used to make forecasts. Sales dashboards should be easy to use and understand. The central dashboard’s data visualization should answer the question: “What do I need to do to increase sales?”


Operations dashboards track KPIs and performance metrics in real-time. By having all this information in one place, decision-makers can quickly see how the business is performing and act accordingly.

Some of the most important metrics to track on an operations dashboard include:

  • Sales revenue
  • Number of new customers
  • Customer satisfaction score
  • Average order value
  • Return on investment (ROI)

Operations dashboards should provide the ability for leaders to understand what is happening in the business. The dashboard should be visually appealing and easy to navigate.


A Finance dashboard tracks important financial KPIs and performance metrics. A CFO (Chief Financial Officer) or Finance Director uses a financial dashboard to monitor a company’s financial health and general performance. It aids them in their operations oversight and in making business forecasts.

Some of the most important metrics to track on a finance dashboard include:

  • Revenue
  • Expenses
  • Gross profit margin
  • OPEX ratio
  • Operating profit margin
  • Net profit margin.
  • Cash flow
  • Accounts receivable
  • Accounts payable

The data for these KPIs is typically pulled from a general ledger system.

Human Resource (HR)

HR dashboards are corporate intelligence tools that track, analyze, and report HR KPIs. Modern, interactive dashboards use an HR analytics platform to combine and explore data from various systems. This helps HR departments improve recruiting, workplace management, and employee performance.

Some of the most important metrics to track on an HR dashboard include:

  • Time to hire
  • Turnover rate
  • Retention rate
  • Absenteeism rate
  • Engagement score
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Training cost per employee
  • Productivity rate
  • Succession planning
  • Compensation analysis

These are just a few examples. The type of HR dashboard you need will depend on the data you want to track and the KPIs you want to measure.

When choosing a data visualization software for your operations dashboard, it is crucial to consider the following:

  • Ease of use
  • Ability to connect to multiple data sources
  • Flexibility to create custom reports
  • Real-time data updates

Interactive operations dashboards are valuable management tools for any business. Having all of the critical information in one place enhances the ability of leaders to make informed business decisions.

Use These To Create Interactive Reports

Interactive reports are a great way to engage your audience and get them involved in data visualization. By allowing business leaders to filter and drill down into the data from a central source, they can explore the data in greater detail and find the information they are looking for.

To create an interactive report, you will first need to select the data you want to include. Then you will need to choose a visualization tool you are comfortable using.

After choosing the tool, you will create a single dashboard for data visualization. When the dashboard is ready, you will need to add interactivity, and this can be done by adding filters, drill-downs, and actions.

Filters allow users to narrow down the data displayed. Drill-downs enable users to drill down into the data to see more detailed information, while actions allow users to take action on the data.

Interactive reports can be created using a variety of different visualization tools. One of the most popular options includes spreadsheet software called Canvas. For the first time, you can integrate data from your database and apps without needing a data stack. Any employee with basic spreadsheet skills can access and analyze this data and create dashboards and automated reporting.

By adding interactivity to your dashboard, you can engage your core leadership and get them involved in the data visualization process. This will lead to efficient data exploration, resulting in new business insights.

When creating an interactive report, it is crucial to consider the following:

  • The visualization tool used to create the report
  • The purpose
  • The audience
  • The data used

By taking the time to consider these factors, you will be able to create an interactive report that is both informative and engaging.

The Benefits of Visualization Software

There are many benefits of using visualization software. Some of the most important benefits include:

Provides You the Ability To Make Data-Driven Decisions

One of the most important benefits of using visualization software is that it allows you to make data-driven decisions. In today’s business world, analytics play a vital role in decision-making. Data-driven decisions are based on data and analytics.

Visualization software gives you the ability to see your data in various ways. This allows you to understand what the data is telling you. With this information, you can make more informed decisions that can help improve your business.

Offers Actionable Insights Into Business Processes

Another benefit of using visualization software is that it offers actionable insights into business practices. By understanding how data analytics can be used in decision-making, businesses can utilize visualization software to improve their business intelligence. This empowers leaders to make more informed decisions to improve the bottom line.

Visualization software helps you see how your business processes are performing, identify areas of improvement, and make changes to your operations.

A critical component of business insights is the ability to see the bigger picture. It is easy to get lost in the details when looking at data. Visualization software allows you to step back and see the big picture.

This is important because it allows you to make better decisions. You can identify new trends and patterns by seeing the bigger picture, which allows you to make better decisions that can improve your business processes. There are a few key things to keep in mind regarding data visualization:

  • Always start with the end goal. What do you want to learn from the data? What decisions do you want to be able to make from analyzing it?
  • Keep it simple, and don’t try to visualize too much data at once.
  • Use the right tool for the job. There are a variety of visualization software packages out there, so make sure to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Conveys a Compelling Story in Business Presentations

One of the most important benefits of using visualization software is conveying a compelling story in your business presentations. To make your presentation more engaging, you need to be able to tell a story with your data.

Visualization software allows you to create charts and graphs that can tell a story. Using the right chart types helps communicate your message more effectively. For example, bar charts are great for showing trends over time.

When telling a story with your data, it is important to remember that less is more. Don’t try to cram too much information into your presentation. Instead, focus on conveying a few key points that resonate with your audience.

Freeing Up Time for Data Teams To Focus on Strategic Work

One of the benefits of data visualization dashboards is that they can free up time for data teams to focus on strategic work. By automating the data collection and analysis process, dashboards can help data teams be more efficient and effective in their work.

In addition, dashboards can provide insights that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. By allowing data teams to see trends and patterns in data, they can be better informed when making decisions about strategy. Ultimately with Canvas, data teams can answer their own ad hoc questions, build and maintain their dashboards, and automate existing manual spreadsheets.

Collaborating in Real-Time Right Where the Data Lives

Another benefit of data visualization dashboards is that they allow for collaboration in real-time right where the data lives. This is helpful because it allows for more accurate decision-making. When data is spread across different software programs, getting a clear picture of what is happening can be challenging. Having everything in one place makes it much easier to spot trends and compare data side-by-side.

Additionally, working on the dashboards in real-time means that team members can make changes and add comments as they are working. This is incredibly helpful for getting feedback and ensuring everyone is on the same page.

Overall, data visualization dashboards offer several benefits that make them essential for any business or organization. A tool like Canvas has a spreadsheet-like interface that gives everyone the power of SQL, a Figma-like collaboration that lets your teams communicate right where the data lives, and a native dbt integration, so your metadata is automatically synced and surfaced directly to business teams.

How Building Dashboards Can Help Your Company Grow

Dashboards provide analytics that can help you make informed decisions for your business. They also offer insights into business practices and can tell a story in presentations. By using dashboards, you can help your company to grow and succeed.

Data visualization dashboards play a pivotal role in analytics for decision-making. In addition to providing analytics that helps make data-driven decisions, business intelligence dashboards also offer insights into business processes and can tell a story in presentations.

Some of the benefits of using dashboards include the ability to:

  • See patterns and trends in your data.
  • Make informed decisions based on data.
  • Track progress and performance over time.
  • Share real-time information with others in your company.

Dashboards can help you and your company in many ways. If you want to make better decisions, grow your business, or keep track of progress, dashboards should be a part of your tool kit.

A data visualization dashboard can be an incredibly useful tool for business owners and managers. By understanding how to use one effectively, you can gain valuable insights into your company’s operations and make data-driven decisions.

Additionally, visualization software offers many benefits, such as improving business processes and creating compelling presentations. Building dashboards can help your company in many ways, so they are worth considering.

Try Canvas Today!

It’s easy to see how relying on spreadsheets for data analysis and reporting can quickly become a mess. Business teams constantly request ad hoc reports and data slices, which can overwhelm your data team. With Canvas, data teams can free up time to focus on more strategic work, collaborate in real-time, and get feedback on how teams consume data. Business teams can build and maintain their own dashboards and rely less on the data team for manual exports and reports.

Canvas is simple and secure, with a spreadsheet-like interface that gives everyone the power of SQL, collaboration features that lets your teams communicate right where the data lives, and connects to the most popular data warehouses as well as over 100 apps if you don't have a warehouse. Try Canvas today to see how it can transform how your team works with data.

© 2023 Infinite Canvas Inc.
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