Data Visualization Toolkit: Dashboards Resources & Tools

Dashboards Resources

Dashboard Design Principles, posted by Beth Kanter on Beth’s Blog, in June 2011. This post describes the use of data dashboard for nonprofit organizations.

Helps users design dashboards in Excel through five steps: pivot, analyze, rename, chart, and slice. This resource also includes downloadable interactive dashboards.

This article describes best practices for building dashboards, including thoughtful planning, informed design, and a critical eye for what stays and what goes.

Dashboards Tools

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel, one of the most widely used platforms for analyzing and charting data, can also be used to develop data dashboards. You can create the dashboard in Excel, linked to a spreadsheet with the selected data for the dashboard. If you design the data spreadsheet to allow for data updates, you will be able to automatically update the dashboard as you update the data.

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Tableau

Tableau is a dynamic tool with many capabilities. Drag and drop data sets and variables into interactive data dashboards, and export your visualizations online or in graphic form. Tableau Public is the free version, which has advanced capabilities but requires that all data be public. Here is an example dashboard that uses Tableau embedded in a website to visualize early childhood data.

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Looker Studio

Looker Studio is a free online tool for converting data into customizable informative reports and dashboards. Looker Studio can connect to a variety of data sets such as MySQL databases, Google Analytics, Google consumer products such as Sheets and YouTube, and social media platforms such as Twitter. See this dashboard and this dashboard for examples of Looker Studio in action courtesy of Arizona’s Part C program.

Web-based Applications

Several web-based applications generate dashboards, such as Salesforce, Dundas, SAP, and IBM among various others. For example, iDashboard uses data from Excel, SQL, Salesforce, Google and other data warehouses to generate dashboards.

For an analysis on how these several applications can help your organization develop dashboards, the Business Intelligence Software has a web-based tool to compare applications (Note that you can sort the organizations based on their application to areas of education, healthcare, or social services by selecting the appropriate “industry” found in the dropdown search option.)

Power BI

This is a data analytics and visualization tool from Microsoft. Users can create interactive dashboards and reports.