Stay on top of the features and best practices you can use to design and build great dashboards with Geckoboard.
Building your dashboard
There are several best practices you can follow to help make your Geckoboard dashboards not only look great but also have the best possible impact on your business.
Answer the who, why, and where
Think carefully about the audience you're designing a dashboard for. What do you want it to help you achieve or do differently? Where will it go in your office?
Design around your key metrics
You'll likely already have goals/KPIs/OKRs that are central to your company or team, so start by putting these on your dashboard. It’s also worth considering adding supporting metrics to your primary goals.
Good metrics for your dashboard are ones that can be:
- Influenced by your team
- Understood easily everyone who can see them
- Directly tied to your overall business goals
- Changed reasonably often, and aren't susceptible to wild fluctuations outside of your control
Choose the right visualizations for your data
Take time to assess what data you have and how best to visualize it. Ultimately you're looking for immediate comprehension and clarity.
Use your dashboard space wisely
Your dashboard has a limited amount of space and having too much on it will reduce its value by making it unclear what is most important and making it too hard to read.
Less like this
More like this
Our rule of thumb is that your most important information should go in the top left of your dashboard as this matches how we read. In addition you should consider the size of individual widgets and grouped widgets; the most important metrics should be the largest and therefore easiest to read.
Group your metrics using headings
Grouping metrics makes them easier to find and read on a dashboard. Grouping also helps teams to make comparisons between directly related metrics.
Grouping can take a number of forms, be that by time period, specific data type (i.e. sales figures) or even the visualization used.
If you've clicked the Try new layout button to use our new dashboard layout, you can use drag and drop to group metrics instantly. Try to come up with catch-all titles that reduce the need to add detailed individual widget titles.
If you're using our old dashboard layout, you can use the Text widget to add simple, clear headings to groups of widgets, or your dashboard as a whole. When creating these text widget titles, try to come up with catch-all titles that reduce the need to add detailed individual widget titles.
Show progress towards your goals
Geckoboard lets you add goals so your team can see their progress towards objectives without having to ask. Remember to add context so that a viewer can understand whether this performance is good or bad.
Setting goals on Number widgets makes your progression towards targets more meaningful and much more engaging.
Round your numbers for simplicity
Use round numbers to make your business’ metrics more memorable and accessible to your team, and to accentuate important changes in your data.
In addition to rounding, you can use abbreviations to concisely display large numbers by breaking them into thousands (K), millions (M), or billions (B).
Highlight over or underperforming metrics
Add Status Indicators to Number or Geck-O-Meter widgets to make them easier to spot when your metric hits a value you’ve set – great for creating a buzz when things go well, and for triggering action when something bad happens.
Check your dashboard's timezone for accurate reporting
Many Geckoboard widgets will anchor their reporting period to the timezone your dashboards is set to. This makes important to align your dashboard's timezone to where the majority of its users are based.
Review your dashboards often
Dashboards should evolve with your business. As you and your team align yourselves around new objectives, tweak or rebuild dashboards accordingly. Remind yourself what information you’re primarily trying to get across and how effectively those important elements stand out.
Arrange your widgets according to their business functions (product, brand, campaign, region, or team), group related widgets, and support meaningful comparisons. Consider hiding or deleting widgets that distract. Even small changes can have a big impact.
Also take the time to observe your dashboard’s audience as they go about their everyday tasks to further empathize with your them and their perspectives.
Dashboard design checklist:
- Be clear about what you’re trying to achieve – your board’s purpose will inform its design
- Only include what’s important – everything should support your board’s intent
- Use size and position to show hierarchy – make it clear to the viewer what’s most important
- Give your numbers context – help your viewers know if a number’s good or bad
- Group your related metrics – make your metrics easy to find
- Be consistent – using the same visualizations and layouts makes comparing easier
- Use clear labels your audience will understand – keep them short and self explanatory
- Round your numbers – too much detail could make minor changes seem major
- Keep evolving your dashboards – check that your dashboard is encouraging the right behaviour
Getting your hardware ready
Geckoboard works on any device that can display a web browser. Get it on screen with a range of different hardware, even if your device is underpowered or your browser is old.
Our optimal setup involves getting a device that:
- Can be left switched on for long periods/permanently (Kiosk mode).
- Runs a modern web browser (ideally Google Chrome).
- Supports full screen mode.
- Has an HDMI output.
- Can connect to a wireless network.
- Supports landscape or portrait modes.
- Allows for easy text input (for navigating to your dashboard).
We recommend using a small form-factor PC. These small, discreet computers plug directly into an HDMI port on your TV. Examples include Chrome OS devices like the Asus Chromebit and Chromebox, Raspberry Pi, and devices powered by Windows 10.
As well as being relatively inexpensive, they are optimized for running the most up-to-date browsers, can run in full screen mode, can be used in portrait or landscape, and importantly, they’re able to run continuously in the background.
Displaying your dashboard
Geckoboard dashboards are designed to be put center stage, so everyone in your company can keep track of the numbers that matter, and take action when it counts.
Use Send to TV and easily manage screens
Use our Send to TV feature to quickly pair your screen with your Geckoboard account. Then you’ll be able to remotely manage your connected dashboards from your laptop.
Cycle between several dashboards on one screen
Do you have more dashboards than TVs? Why not create a loop – perfect for cycling through multiple dashboards on your account.
Load dashboards on your mobile device
You can load mobile friendly dashboards on your device of choice by using Our Progressive Web App (PWA). Simply login to Geckoboard in your mobile browser and you’ll be able to browse all the dashboards on your account.
Geckoboard for underpowered TVs or older browsers
Sharing your dashboard
You can choose to share the dashboards you create far and wide. This can be ideal for remote coworkers, investors, contractors, and individual third-parties.
Use share links for non-Geckoboard users
Share links enable to you share a temporary public link to your dashboard in view-only mode. This means the viewer won't require a Geckoboard user account.
Share links are hash URLs which makes them unique and impossible to guess. Additionally, we block search engines from accessing share links on Geckoboard.
Add view-only users to your Geckoboard account
Dashboard view-only users can be added on a dashboard-by-dashboard basis, and can only view the dashboards you add them to. This method is ideal for when you want someone to login before they can see your dashboard.
They also cannot edit or delete dashboards and don't have access to your organization settings or billing details.
Share daily dashboard screenshots on Slack
Geckoboard Snapshots for Slack allows you to schedule a daily dashboard screenshot to your chosen Slack channel – ideal for remote team members.
Embed your Geckoboard dashboard in websites and tools
You can also use sharing links to embed a Geckoboard dashboard into websites and many of your everyday business tools. The most common way of doing this is using iFrames.
We have dedicated articles for embedding a Geckoboard dashboard for these tools: