Most folks involved in design or creative professions, be it Architecture, Engineering, Graphic Design, and so on have heard of Edward Tufte. If you haven’t, go check him out. He’s more or less the father of modern Information Design. He has written several classic works, including “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.” I have found his work inspiring, yet not quite relevant to our work at Knowledge Architecture. I have been on the lookout for materials directly concerning business reporting and dashboard design, yet with Tufte’s restrained sensibility.
A little lesser known figure in the field of Information Design is Steven Few. His first book, “Show me the Numbers,” is a must read for anyone who spends time presenting quantitative information. As we got further along in the development of our Synthesis platform of custom reports, dashboards, and portals based on Microsoft SharePoint it became clear that we needed a design polemic to give us a little push. I came across Steven’s book (and blog) and was blown away. If you are interested in dashboard design I cannot recommend it enough.
Here are a couple samples of Sales and Marketing dashboards. Contrast them mentally with a few of the last dashboards you have seen (or designed, I know, me too) and you’ll get the picture. No traffic lights, speed gauges, or 3D glossy bar charts here.