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6 steps to optimize your dashboard performance

Published Jun 11 2024 4 minute read Last updated Jun 11 2024
optimize your dashboards
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  • Sean Dougherty
    Written by Sean Dougherty

    A copywriter at Funnel, Sean has more than 15 years of experience working in branding and advertising (both agency and client side). He's also a professional voice actor.

Have you ever gone to a restaurant with a menu that goes on for pages and pages? It can get a bit overwhelming. How do you decide when you have dozens of options to consider?

Some business performance dashboards suffer from the same problem. They tell you too much, so they don't focus on the key performance indicators that matter to you.

That's where dashboard performance optimization comes in. 

Dashboard performance optimization ensures a smooth user experience, even when you have large datasets or complex visualizations. 

Adopting the right tool will make performance monitoring easier, but it doesn't necessarily ensure you'll gain valuable insights. For that, you need to know how to optimize your dashboard.

Here are some tips to help you optimize your performance dashboard.

Step 1: Curate your data set

What could the restaurant's chef do to develop a more useful menu? They might start by making a more carefully curated list of dishes. 

It's similar to performance dashboards. You make it easier to discover valuable insights when you carefully select, organize, and manage your data to ensure its relevance, quality, and usability.

Reduce data volume

Curating involves selecting only relevant data for the dashboard. Deleting unnecessary information improves loading times and dashboard responsiveness. With less clutter, you can potentially process real-time data and focus on the performance metrics that matter.

Optimize data structure 

Optimizing data structures can involve: 

  • Data aggregation (moving data from sources to a central location)

  • Data summarization (reducing data into small, digestible chunks)

  • Data normalization (ensuring consistent schema and formats)

By structuring the data efficiently, you can streamline data retrieval and processing, resulting in faster dashboard performance.

Eliminate irrelevant data 

Irrelevant data can introduce unnecessary processing overhead and increase the time it takes to render your performance dashboards. When you remove irrelevant data, you can improve overall performance by dedicating your compute resources to monitor critical business processes, such as operational metrics, customer-related metrics, and financial metrics.

Improve data quality 

Use data cleaning and validation to ensure data accuracy and integrity. High-quality data reduces the likelihood of errors and inconsistencies that can hurt dashboard performance. 

If you let low-quality data remain in your set, you will eventually encounter issues with even the most strategic dashboards. A dashboard can't do its job unless you provide relevant and timely information.

Improve user experience

By curating your dataset to include only relevant and high-quality data, you can create a more intuitive and user-friendly dashboard experience. Users can quickly find the needed information without sifting through irrelevant or poorly structured data, improving productivity and satisfaction.

Remember that some users don't have much technical experience working with data, especially when they need a marketing performance dashboard. Your dashboard should offer an intuitive user interface to boost employee performance and enable users of all skill levels.

Step 2: Design simple, clear, and clean layouts

Organizing and designing your dashboard's components can significantly impact performance.

To create a successful dashboard, strive for a clear and straightforward layout that helps users understand the data and its story. 

This requires selecting consistent and intuitive color palettes, font sizes, and styles and choosing appropriate chart types and formats. 

Use titles, labels, legends, and tooltips to explain the data. It's best practice only to use filters and slicers strategically and sparingly. It's also important to incorporate white space, grids, and alignment to create a balanced visual hierarchy.

Step 3: Apply appropriate filtering

We said to use filters sparingly. So, how should you filter data appropriately?

Limit the date range

Instead of loading the entire dataset, filter the data to include only the necessary time period.

For example, if your dashboard displays customer lifetime value, consider letting users select a specific date range rather than loading all data from the beginning of time.

Apply contextual filters where it makes sense

Allow users to apply filters based on their specific needs or interests. Don't always assume you know what key performance indicators someone needs to use.

For example, if your dashboard displays marketing performance data, allow users to filter by campaign, platform, spend, and other related factors. 

Optimize query execution 

When users apply filters, the dashboard can generate more targeted, optimized queries to fetch filtered data from the underlying database or data source. 

Optimized queries are typically more efficient and can be executed faster, leading to quicker response times and improved performance monitoring.

Step 4: Use only relevant visual representations — and keep them simple!

Performance dashboards empower organizations best by providing relevant visual representations that turn data into a story. 

You don't want to go overboard, like with the chef's overly large menu, though. It will just confuse people.

Related reading: The 12 best data visualization tools for marketing agencies 

Limit the number of visual elements

Avoid overloading the dashboard with too many charts, graphs, or tables. Data visualization tools can slow down when you ask them to do too much. Plus, too many data visualizations will confuse some users. 

Simplify complex visualizations 

The chef's menu could be worse than it is. What if it included a list of every ingredient in each dish? Talk about information overload!

Apply this concept to your marketing and business performance dashboards. Use simpler chart types or summarize data to reduce rendering time and prevent confusion. 

No one wants to look at a line graph or other visualization that simultaneously compares dozens of data points. Simplify your strategic dashboards and visualizations so people can easily understand the data. 

Step 5: Fine tune calculations and interactivity

Complex calculations and interactions can affect dashboard performance. If you include too many or too complex calculations in your dashboard, it probably can't process real-time data. Expect slower refresh speeds that could make campaign management more difficult.

Stick to easy formulas to make your calculations and actions better. Also, you can reuse calculations you've already figured out. You don't need to create a fancy new way to calculate your gross profit margin or customer retention rate. If you already have formulas that work well, save them for easy access.

Step 6: Test and refine your dashboard

Testing and refining a dashboard before and after deploying it is crucial to ensure optimal performance. 

Use sample or dummy data to test the dashboard's functionality and design. Test it on different devices, browsers, and screen sizes to check compatibility and responsiveness. 

You might identify errors that only occur on Android devices. If you know when and where errors occur, you can try other performance dashboard templates to see if you get more consistent results.

To create an effective dashboard that assists teams in making data-driven decisions, it's important to ask teams for feedback about the dashboard's usefulness. Over time, you can work on improving or tweaking the dashboard to better suit user needs. Ultimately, the dashboard's aim is to inform teams of their performance and empower them to make quick decisions, explore further data, or research marketing activities to uncover any barriers to success.

Introducing Funnel Dashboards

Funnel is a marketing data hub where you can connect to data from various sources, store, organize, and share it. You can easily create data visualizations and extract valuable insights using raw data. 

Funnel's new Dashboards feature offers faster, more stable data retrieval, frictionless data exploration, and an end-to-end solution with automatic normalization of marketing data. What’s more, Funnel has a free plan that allows you to connect three different platforms to get a marketing spend overview report quickly and easily.

Moving forward with optimized dashboards

Applying these optimization techniques can enhance your performance dashboard and give users a more responsive, efficient data visualization experience. You don't want people scratching their heads while your dashboard bombards them with unnecessary options. You want them to look at your dashboard and immediately find the information they need. 

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