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Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data
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Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  946 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Dashboards have become popular in recent years as uniquely powerful tools for communicating important information at a glance. Although dashboards are potentially powerful, this potential is rarely realized. The greatest display technology in the world won't solve this if you fail to use effective visual design. And if a dashboard fails to tell you precisely what you need ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 31st 2006 by O'Reilly Media
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The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. NormanDon't Make Me Think by Steve KrugUniversal Principles of Design by William LidwellAbout Face 3 by Alan CooperThe Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte
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44th out of 47 books — 82 voters
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33rd out of 41 books — 11 voters

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(showing 1-30 of 2,496)
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Ben Sweezy
Nov 24, 2013 Ben Sweezy rated it really liked it
This book is great. I routinely hand this to people as an introduction to critical thinking about meaningful elements of a graph. In today's language this book is more about graphs than about "visualizations" in that Few's emphasis is clean, readable charts that incorporate elements that fire the right cognitive parts of the brain. Like Tufte, he is a strong advocate for getting out of the way of the data (in Tufte's language, minimizing "data-junk" and maximizing the data-to-ink ratio), but Few ...more
Zhenwei Chan
May 01, 2007 Zhenwei Chan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Improving your Excel presentation
Dashboard design - one of the most important aspect of presentation in this information-overload world today. If you're a consultant or researcher, and you have an encyclopedic amount of analysis you wish to present, do it succintly because most pple tune out after the first 10 mins. That's what a good dashboard should do - it ferrets out the essence of all information neatly in one single screen. the audience get to know what the numbers are and their significance in seconds. But designing such ...more
Abner Huertas
May 23, 2015 Abner Huertas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El diseño es una parte esencial de nuestro trabajo, independiente del tipo de industria para la cual trabajes. Este libro me fue dado en un viaje que realizaba. En mi trabajo necesito presentar información relevante para los tomadores de decisiones, y seamos honestos... muchas veces presentamos gráficos que no comunican nada.

Stephen Few, me enseñó que entregar información que comunique es posible. Lo principal que uno debe de aprender es: simple; así es, la información que más comunica es aquell
Tom Panning
Sep 04, 2014 Tom Panning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usability
If you're tasked with designing a dashboard that meets Stephen's definition of "dashboard", this book has a lot to offer. To Stephen, "dashboard" means a single-screen UI that is used daily or at least weekly to keep track of the overall state of something. This book covers broad layout and design, but a lot of the value comes from the advice for dashboard elements. There is good advice on when and how to use common elements like bar charts and line charts, along with admonitions to not use pie ...more
Jan 06, 2012 Laurian rated it really liked it
Shelves: ux
Just seeing the title of this book I knew that I had to do my due diligence and read it - after all, one of the products that I work on is creating the dashboard on which different little items reside on. The last thing I wanted is for anyone to say "Hey have you read this book about information dashboard designs?" and I didn't have a good response.

I was a bit skeptical. In general I'm not the right audience for most O'Riley books about UX or HCI. Luckily the book ended up being pretty good. The
Oct 23, 2015 Jerzy rated it liked it
As usual for Stephen Few, the advice is generally good but the graph examples are almost all fake data devoid of context. We can't learn anything about the world from them... which is a problem when your book's goal is teaching you to learn about the world from graphs.

Also, there's considerable overlap here with his other books, talking about visual perception and other principles that apply to any dataviz (not just dashboards). That's handy if you don't plan to read any dataviz book beyond this
Nov 15, 2011 Meagan rated it it was amazing
This should be required reading for anyone involved in reporting or dashboard design. This book adresses dashboard content as well as user interface design. He references Edward Tufte as well as some psychology studies about how people read and interpret information. This book is full of tips on what to do and what to avoid. He gives great examples and even picks on the major BI vendors in how they market and present "dashboards". It's a pretty easy and enjoyable read.
Jul 22, 2012 Margie rated it liked it
Recommended to Margie by: BPAWG
Shelves: data
Note: I'm not the best person to review this book. I definitely started with the wrong Stephen Few book. This is the one my library had, but it focuses (as might be expected) quite narrowly on dashboards. What I've seen referred to as dashboards are apparently far from the reality, so I was clearly in the wrong book. I appreciate his ability to discuss visual perception and effective display of data, so I'll read one of his other books and hope to get more out of it.
Aug 04, 2014 Guru rated it liked it
Somewhat dated (2006) but a lot of it is still very applicable. The author uses numerous info dashboard examples and offers his critique on why they are confusing or mislead the user.
The author tends to lean towards a minimalistic version of dashboard and has thoughts on various aesthetic and practical issues with dashboard design. In all earnestness, he strives to create a new science for information dashboard design. And, to some extent, he succeeds. The book refers to several works of indust
Oct 10, 2014 Ariadna73 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: data-analysis
Here are my notes on this book:

Information Dashboard Design

Wes Baker
I greatly appreciate Stephen Few's approach to data visualization; this is the third book of his that I have purchased and I have found all of them helpful, even invaluable. He works from principles of perception, particularly the key principle of "preattentive attributes" (working with the brain so that a visualization is instantly understandable). As a result, his criteria is based on cognitive science, rather than design preferences. One of the problems with most books about dashboards to thi ...more
Robert Postill
Apr 14, 2013 Robert Postill rated it really liked it
This book is very interesting, I work in BI/IM and so the subject matter appeals to me right off the bat. I'm also building dashboards at work and so there's a timely element in this book too.

I'm a massive fan of practicality in computing texts and this book doesn't disappoint. It's very practically laid out with a wealth of helpful illustration in it.
The choice of having vendor tools output is instructive and lends real credibility when laid out against the author's remedies. Although I imagine
Pete Aven
Feb 28, 2015 Pete Aven rated it it was amazing
Excellent. It's a concise, eloquent, info-dense treaty on how to communicate information visually. Communication is explained not only from how to produce information graphically but also from the perspective of how this information is perceived and consumed by the intended audience. While focused on dashboards, the information here is useful for reporting, PowerPoints, and other mediums as well. You'll never look at dashboards, applications, or reports the same way again.
William Decker
Sep 12, 2013 William Decker rated it it was amazing
Don't let the incredibly banal title turn you away from this book. The book is a wonderful blend of data visualization, visual perception, and cognition that will make you a better presenter in any format, not just Information Dashboards.

Stephen Few goes out of his way to discuss the theory and the details behind presenting quantified results along with copious examples of good, bad, and meh examples. Be warned: after reading this book, your eyes will never glaze over during a presentation. Ins
Dec 31, 2014 Faisal rated it it was amazing
I started with this book and ended up purchasing all Stephen Few books related to data visualization. What I learned was how to use data visualizations with methods to display information in a meaningful but non-invasive way.
May 19, 2015 Hector rated it it was amazing
Un libro que como picos integra muy bien la teoría con la práctica. Incluso para una persona con pocos conocimientos de diseño resulta fácil de entender. Al final nunca más en tu vida querrás usar un pie chart.
Feb 09, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
For those in business intelligence, this is a great read. For those interested in reporting in general, I'd also recommend reading this book.

The overall contents goes through a quick history of dashboards, it's importance, good and bad practices, human psychology as applied to vision and examples. The best practices and human psychology element were to me the most fascinating as it is an aspect of dashboard design that few people seem to know enough about.

What makes this great is that it is a re
Apr 18, 2015 Lianna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nerdstuffs
Amazing. I want to buy extra copies to throw at people who use exploded pie charts.
Michael Roman
Sep 22, 2014 Michael Roman rated it it was amazing
Very useful. Filled with examples.
Jason Luellen
Oct 02, 2009 Jason Luellen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in data visualization
I started reading this book to prepare for dashboard development using QlikView. This is a nice book on the visualization of data, and the principles it presents are well organized and sound. However, having a background in psychology and data analysis, there wasn't a lot of new material to absorb. The bullet graphs were new and apealling, and Stephen Few's sense of design and color are strong. The unfamiliar will learn WHAT looks good and communicates information effectively but won't get much ...more
Micah Tan
Oct 30, 2009 Micah Tan rated it really liked it
Great introduction to dashboard design and the particular UI issues that attend this type of application.

While it doesn't go into alot of depth (many of the explanations can be found at length in Tufte's "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information") the application of principles to examples is helpful.

The numerous visuals inflate the page count (in a good way) so it's a relatively quick read.

Key takeaway: simplicity, clarity, and the appropriate level of detail.
Max Lybbert
Jul 30, 2013 Max Lybbert rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable and approachable discussion of ways to effectively display information, especially summary information that would be useful on a dashboard.

Stephen Few reminds me of Edward Tufte. However, Tufte seems to want to teach by osmosis, while Few does a better job covering how to actually put his advice into action.

I'm looking forward to reading Few's other books.
Oct 09, 2015 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional
This is one of the few books I re-read every couple of years. The amount of information and the simplicity in the way important concepts are described makes it a volume I recommend to most information management (BI in particular) professionals.
If you need to deliver a dashboard, reports or consolidate data and show meaningful organised information, Stephen Few packaged a really large number of recommendations here.
Jan 04, 2014 Patrick rated it really liked it
Good intro to information design principles for comparing data. Chapters on bullet charts, spark lines and Few's dashboard competition are highly illustrative.

This type of book should be an ebook of some sort for quick searching and reference.
Mar 19, 2012 Lee rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Information Dashboard Design describes how to present information needed for business decisions in a clear concise manner. Avoid clutter, avoid gimmicks, choose pleasing colors - nothing too bright. Reduce the non-data pixels! "Simplify, simplify, simplify!" as the author says, quoting Henry David Thoreau. Probably not a first in a business-oriented book, but refreshing.
Jul 24, 2008 Paul rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Paul by: David Worth
Wow. If any part of your job involves communicating data to other people, you should read this book. Not only does the author provide numerous techniques to apply to your own work, he explains the root of why different methods are good or bad. Reading this book, I didn't not feel like I was simply being informed - I felt like I was being educated. Amazing work!
Feb 05, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: own, usability
Decent reiteration of all the relevant guidelines for creating useful information visualizations. I found the discussion of each visualization type (what kinds of information it was good for, etc) very useful. I also (being one who learns heavily by example) really enjoyed the analysis of both good and bad examples of information dashboards. All around, useful reference.
Apr 20, 2008 mcburton rated it really liked it
While at first I was not impressed with this book. As I slugged through it I felt it got better and better. In the end I think it was a good read, its short and succinct, extremely well laid out and beautifully published. For anyone who needs a decent introduction to information viz and "dashboards" I would recommend this as a good place to start.
Apr 12, 2013 Kevin rated it really liked it
This book was not about what I thought. This book is for Graphic Designers or people who want to organize their information on the dashboard so that it is easier to understand. I already know using more than 5 colors is a no-no. But I'm not a Graphic Designer. If you want to program a Dashboard, this is not what you want to read.
Neville Ridley-smith
Oct 22, 2013 Neville Ridley-smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: technical
Though not sizzling with excitement, this is an essential book that shows what works and what doesn't. It's hugely practical.

I particularly found the section on gestalt principles and how they apply to infographic design extremely interesting. I share them with the family and we had a great time coming up with pen and paper examples.
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