Designing Dashboards

How a Disappointing Analytics UX Puts Your Application at Risk

By Michelle Gardner
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Over 85 percent of applications have some form of embedded analytics, according to the 2018 State of Embedded Analytics Report. Embedded dashboards and reports have massive value, empowering end users to get the insights they need without leaving the applications they already use. But in a market where nearly every application has analytics, the differences between good dashboard user experience (UX) design and terrible analytics experiences are clearer than ever.

>> Related: UX Design for Embedded Analytics <<

To give end users actionable insights from vast amounts of data, application teams have to plan from the very beginning. They must design a UX that presents data in easily understandable and visually appealing ways. If an application dashboard gets cluttered with unnecessary information, or if it’s poorly designed or not constructed intuitively, it becomes more trouble than it’s worth to customers.

What are the factors of analytics UX design? And what risks do applications face if their analytics experiences fall short?

First, let’s define UI and UX. The user experience refers to the overall interaction a user has with your company, product, application, or service. It encompasses the user interface (UI)—which refers to how the application looks, including icons, fonts, colors, and more—but UX goes further to consider the product as a whole. What context is the user in? What problems are they trying to solve? What makes the product useful?

UX is the complete experience a user has with your product, while UI is the point at which the user is interacting directly with the product. Countless product teams make the mistake of deprioritizing UX when it comes to embedded analytics. Initially, the consequences of doing so may be miniscule or even non-existent. But even revolutionary products can only succeed for so long.

Here are the top 3 risks or a poor analytics UX:

1. Perception of Your Application

Even if the rest of your application is incredible, a disappointing analytics experience can leave users feeling like the entire product is off. “The look and feel of the embedded analytics solution can directly impact the impression of the overall enterprise application and customer experience,” writes Gartner in a recent report, 5 Best Practices for Choosing an Embedded Analytics Platform Provider.

2. User Adoption

For embedded analytics to succeed, it has to be used. Unfortunately, users will reject dashboards if they’re not intuitive or fail to convey information clearly. An effective analytics experience can be the difference between users embracing your product or ignoring it altogether. Over the long term, a bad UX can lead to people getting frustrated, leaving, and trying a different product entirely.

3. Competitive Edge

Terrible analytics can turn a market leader into an also-ran. “People are expecting better and better user experiences. We’re seeing this across the board,” explains Laura Klein, author of “Build Better Products” and “UX for Lean Startups” as well as Principal at Users Know. “If you have a terrible user experience—a product that is confusing or difficult to use—you may lose business when somebody else comes along and makes something that ‘just works.’”

Get more design best practices in the ebook: UI for BI: Designing High-Impact Dashboards >


Originally published November 6, 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.