Designing Dashboards

7 (Mostly) Free Tools to Jazz Up Your Embedded Analytics

By Michelle Gardner
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If an application doesn’t look great, it won’t get used. This is true of any web application—and it certainly holds true for embedded analytics. If your dashboards and reports look outdated or clunky, your users will quickly bounce out of your app.

>> Related: The Definitive Guide to Dashboard Design <<

For developers, design skills may not always come naturally. That’s where graphics libraries and online tools can help.

Try these seven tools to take your dashboards and data visualizations to the next level:

Font Awesome

This free font and CSS framework makes it easy to add scalable vector graphics to your web applications. All the icons come out as web font and they’re completely scalable, so you can use them on a tiny mobile screen up to a giant projector and they’ll always look great. They also come without any dependencies, so they don’t depend on JavaScript or other languages. Just add the CSS file to your application and you’re good to go.

Google Web Fonts

This free library focuses on high-quality fonts for your analytic application. They’re scalable and customizable, which means you can minimize load times by choosing to host, say, the regular font with just the italic and bold options, but none of the others. The fonts also scale perfectly from a tiny screen on up, and they come in tons of widely supported options.

Adobe Color Wheel

This library boasts thousands of color combinations. Even better for application developers and product managers, it completely removes the design pressure. With coordinated color palettes, you can create a complete color scheme, all for free. You can also play around with plenty of different color algorithms, so you’re not tied down to just one palette.

Web Languages

For developers who want to scale their embedded analytics and enhance their application, web languages are a good option. Many embedded analytics platforms work with a variety of web languages, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. If you have a JavaScript file you already like, for example, you may be able to use it with your existing analytics platform—without any special setup or knowledge.

CSS Frameworks

Have a library you already like using? Check to see if your analytics solution works with it. For instance, the Logi Analytics platform pairs nicely with these frameworks:

  • Bootstrap, which provides all those front-end interface pieces that you can just pick up and use
  • Skeleton, which gives you a stripped-down basic framework that you can build on
  • Foundation by Zurb, which offers a robust set of tools and components that make it easy to build a responsive application
  • Materialize, a completely responsive framework that gives you a clean material design with lots of options

JavaScript Libraries

You can use JavaScript—whether it’s pure JavaScript or something like JQuery—to extend your analytics offerings even further. Simply by including the free JavaScript library in your analytics application, you’ll get all the benefits of your current analytics plus your framework together.

Wireframe Tools

Digital wireframe tools are always a good idea to make sure your analytics solution surpasses expectations. These are especially useful if you’re dealing with remote employees or a more complex approval process. Solutions like Balsamiq, Axure, SwordSoft, and Adobe Illustrator will allow you to connect with team members and share your wireframes and mockups virtually. While these solutions are not free, most offer free trials.

Learn more about enhancing your analytics in our Graphics Libraries ebook >

Originally published July 3, 2018; updated on July 23rd, 2018

About the Author

Michelle Gardner is the Content Marketing Manager at Logi Analytics. She has over a decade of experience writing and editing content, with a specialty in software and technology.