IBCS® as the key to a SUCCESSful dashboard

When designing a dashboard, the first priority is to sit down with the stakeholder(s) and focus on the goal of the dashboard and what information is required to be able to achieve that goal. Once that is clear, the design of the logical structure and workflow of the dashboard can start, in other words, what storyline makes sense? With this user centered approach, the basics are covered to create a functional dashboard which means the user can achieve its goal efficiently, effectively and in a satisfactory matter.

Now how does IBCS® fit in this scenario?
IBCS® stands for International Business Communication Standards. These standards focus on the conception of the content, the visual perception and the semantic unification. To make this more tangible, there are rules in 7 areas, the SUCCESS formula, required to meet the IBCS® standard. These rules can be applied in the dashboard design and development process:

S AY  Convey a message
U NIFY  Apply semantic notation
C ONDENSE  Increase information density
C HECK  Ensure visual integrity
E XPRESS  Choose a proper visualization
S IMPLIFY  Avoid clutter
S TRUCTURE  Organize content

The SAY rules focuses on the goal of the visualizations and the report as a whole. This helps in adding only relevant components, and thereby applying the SIMPLIFY rule (and at McCoy we love to simplify 😊) keeping the dashboard design ‘clean’. 
When the content required is known, the proper visualization for the data needs to be defined, EXPRESS and CHECK. IBCS® extensively discusses what visualizations should be used for certain content.


The next step is to organize the content in a logical way, STRUCTURE. Here it is important to show visualizations related to each other in the same view. This is what the CONDENSE rule is about, it enables the end user to view all information relevant to each other at a glance. 
There is however 1 rule which could be added, and that is using white space. It helps in exposing the user to a digestible amount of content which has a positive influence on the processing of information. So it is all about finding the perfect balance between the condense rule and using white space.
In general, the SUCCESS rules will help in creating a good foundation for the dashboard. And by applying the semantic notations, UNIFY, there will be no confusion as to what something means as similar content is visualized in a similar manner.

At McCoy & Partners we not only have highly experienced BI consultants that can create technically sturdy dashboards, but together with our UX team we make sure our dashboards are worthwhile. Contact us if you are interested in taking your dashboards and the user adoption to the next level.