Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

Global Dashboard Design Trends for 2014


For a lot of people, business intelligence = dashboards. Since they’re so relied upon to present at-a-glance views of KPIs and to guide decision-making for business leaders, it’s critical that dashboards are well-formatted, easy to read and simple to navigate. Let’s explore the dashboard design trends that resonate with today’s executives.

1) Flat UI will continue to grow
In 2014 clean beats clutter. Users are drawn to crisp, clean interfaces, often with tile-based layouts. Windows 8 was influential in creating this flat design and Apple followed suit with iOS 7. Business leaders can quickly access and interpret data when information is presented in an uncluttered interface.


mobile dashboard2) Mobile First
Driven by consumers, smartphone and tablet usage has skyrocketed in recent years. With PC sales on the decline, mobile devices have become the main personal computers for many. Furthermore, the convenience of mobile devices make them the first point of contact for accessing company information. It is important that designers re-think the user experience, placing primary focus on how the end user will view and interact with information on a smaller device. A mobile-first strategy enables organizations to adapt to how users prefer to interact with information in 2014 and beyond.  arcplan 8 takes the importance of mobility into account, providing a new “View” concept to implement mobile dashboards at no extra cost.


3) HTML5html5
HTML5 is a widely-adopted industry standard. It provides a simple and flexible alternative to plug-in-based technologies which are often cumbersome to maintain, and it’s changing the mobile BI landscape in terms of delivering a consistently superior web experience across all devices. HTML5 offers a rich feature set for designing websites, which can be leveraged to create cutting-edge BI dashboard applications. More websites are using HTML5 functionality and are less dependent on plug-ins. So if your organization plans to implement a mobile strategy (without Java/.NET), HTML5 is the best option for your BI/dashboard deployments. To support this trend, we created an HTML5 client for seamless deployments across all devices with arcplan 8.

responsive design

4) Responsive Design for a better viewing experience across devices
The business benefits of responsive design are undeniable: increased efficiency and productivity for the business team while maximizing the time of the IT/development team. Websites and applications that are responsively designed need only be created once, and will automatically adapt to the end user’s device. This also means that there’s no need to develop for various browsers and operating systems. arcplan 8 has built-in support for Responsive Design. With little effort, arcplan dashboards and reports will display optimally on any end user device.


5) Cards & Tilesdashboard tiles
Driven by consumer portals like Pinterest, cards and tiles are supporting the trend of cleaner interfaces. Modular tiles or panels often create a grid layout, which makes it easy for users to scan the app for relevant content. The impact is a cleaner structure for better user experience, ideal for mobile deployment with a Responsive Design approach.


6) Less text is more
Visualization is gaining ground as the preferred method of relaying information. The Web seems to be getting a lot less text-heavy; some websites and apps have almost no visible text, instead relying on images, icons, graphs and other visualizations. When used appropriately, charts and graphs on a dashboard can deliver meaningful information better than a page worth of text, and can lead to a better understanding of data. By nature, arcplan allows various types of data visualization. Chart types such as sparklines or bullet graphs are a perfect examples of how dashboard visualizations can convey a great amount of information with minimal text.


7) Minimalist Navigation
Stripped-down navigation is a trend gaining popularity. Partly influenced by the need to design condensed navigation for mobile devices, we're seeing a lot more focus on icons, drill down functionality, and navigation that shrinks as you start to scroll down the page. In effect, simpler navigation increases user acceptance. Combined with a Responsive Design strategy this makes a perfect user experience for all device types.


Dashboard designers and users appreciate the extreme flexibility of arcplan’s BI platform. As design trends emerge and fade away, it’s easy to adjust arcplan applications in our point-and-click design environment. If you’re a customer in need of an app refresh, contact your account manager or email to set up a workshop with our dashboard design experts.

Tiemo Winterkamp

About Tiemo Winterkamp

I'm the Senior VP of Global Marketing at arcplan and work out of our Langenfeld, Germany office. I've worked in Business Intelligence and data warehousing since 1994. You can connect with me on LinkedIn.
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  1. An effective dashboard is a combination of visualization tools, user based interfaces and data collection and aggregation with collaboration capabilities across enterprise resource, people and systems. Collaboration Dashboard Services enables users to communicate with their colleagues, host remote meetings and share information. Hence it is very important to have reliable tools to effectively manage the performance of their collaboration network.

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