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5 tips for building an effective mobile dashboard

PolinaGeorgiev1's avatar
Quickbase Staff
2 years ago

Making accurate, data-informed decisions quickly, even while you are on the go, is critical for organizations seeking to become dynamic enterprises. To achieve this, you need to have the right data available to the right people, at the right time. Quickbase’s new mobile dashboards are designed with this in mind. With their dual functionality as a home page for your applications and a comprehensive reporting tool, the dashboards enable you to gather real-time visibility into your metrics and KPIs and in the same time trigger different workflows and actions anywhere and at any time.  

Same as any other Quickbase mobile feature, your desktop dashboards are automatically available on mobile without any additional building required. However, given the different context and needs when users are accessing information through Quickbase mobile while being on the go, we encourage app admins to create a separate dashboard for mobile devices. This way you will ensure that your users will always have access to the right information and actions, depending on their device.

When it comes to building a dashboard for the mobile devices, it's important to keep in mind that users typically have limited screen space and attention span. It's quite easy to lose the balance between the amount of information displayed and an optimised user experience. To help you avoid overwhelming your users with data, in this blog post we'll discuss five tips for building effective mobile dashboards:


1. Know Your Target Users

Before you start building your mobile dashboard, it's essential to know your target users and their goals. The dashboard should be designed with the end-users in mind, so it's best to start by understanding their needs and what information and data they need to achieve their goals.

You can start with answering these questions:

  • What is the person's role in the organisation?

  • In what scenarios will this mobile dashboard be used?

  • What data and metrics are most important to this role?

  • How will the dashboard help them in their daily work?

Once you have the answer to these questions, you will be able to define clear objectives for what you want to achieve with the dashboard and what content you should include.


2. Consider the real estate

It's essential to optimize your dashboard for mobile devices. Understanding the device specifics is important so that we know what’s the best format that we can display data, how many widgets we can have easily accessible to the target users. Mobile screens are much smaller than desktop screens, so you need to design your dashboard with this in mind.

For example, the limited mobile screen sizes aren’t ideal for in-depth analysis and drilled-down data. Instead, you should consider displaying information that is easily digestible, and actionable in a small screen format. Some examples that might be suitable for a mobile dashboard include:

  • Utilizing charts, graphs, and visual elements that are better suited for small screens;

  • Displaying summarized data;

  • Table reports optimized for mobile - key columns are displayed prominently first; less critical columns may be hidden by default; as a general guideline, it is recommended to limit the number of columns to around 5 to 7 columns.


3. Choose the right metrics

App admins must balance functionality and data with consumer expectations for the user experience - a major challenge in the dashboard design is strictly selecting only what matters. Don't just include data for the sake of it; instead, make sure that the metrics you include are actionable and provide insights that your audience can act on. Focus on metrics that will help your audience make better decisions, improve performance, or drive growth. The following steps can help you identify the right metrics:

  • Involve end users and stakeholders in the process: Consult with key stakeholders and users who will use the dashboard or have an interest in its data. Their input will ensure that the metrics you are selecting are relevant.

  • Define the Dashboard goals: Start by defining the goals and objectives of the dashboard. What is the purpose? What goals will the dashboard help users achieve? This will guide the selection of the right metrics.

  • Identify strategic objectives: Identify the strategic objectives of your organization or business unit. Your metrics should align with these objectives.

  • Break down the objectives into KPIs: KPIs are a quantifiable measure of performance over time for a specific objective and indicate how effectively an organization or team is achieving its objectives. Identify the KPIs that are most relevant for your users.

  • Focus on actionable metrics: Identify metrics that provide actionable insights for your users.


4. Keep it Simple

When it comes to designing mobile dashboards, less is often more. Avoid cluttering the dashboard with too much information or too many visualizations. A cluttered dashboard can be overwhelming and difficult to use. Instead, use simple, easy-to-understand charts and graphs that can be quickly interpreted.

Some best practices that can help you simplify your content are:

  • A mobile dashboard should have a clear visual hierarchy with the most important information presented prominently. Including too many reports will dilute the visual hierarchy and make it harder for users to quickly understand the most important insights. Group related information together and use a clear visual hierarchy to make it easy for users to understand the data.

  • KPI reports and charts can be an effective way to present complex data in a way that is easy to understand. Choose the right type of visualization for the data you want to show, and keep it simple.

  • Avoid adding any unnecessary text such as long detailed descriptions, when adding elements to the dashboard. For table reports add only the relevant columns in the report and place the key differentiating column such as a task or project name first. The more elements a table has, the more the user will have to scroll left and right and the harder it will be for them to make sense of all the data.

  • Keep the number of reports limited to the most essential ones to ensure that users can quickly understand and act upon the information. As a general rule of thumb, it's recommended to keep the number of reports on a mobile dashboard to a manageable and meaningful level, typically ranging from 3 to 6 widgets.


5. Use color effectively

Using color effectively in a mobile dashboard can help you highlight important information and differentiate outliers. This way you can create a mobile dashboard that is easy to use and visually appealing:

  • Use color to convey meaning: Leverage the psychology of colors to convey meaning and help users interpret data. For example, use green to represent positive values, red for negative values, and yellow for warnings or alerts. Ensure that the color choices are intuitive and consistent throughout the dashboard.

  • Highlight key data points: Use color to draw attention to important data points or trends. For example, you could use a different color for a high-priority task or to indicate a significant change in a metric.


”Using color is powerful, especially when it is used sparingly and reserved to identify the most important data points. Our brains are wired to find the most salient piece of information the fastest. Keep this in mind when designing your dashboards. Rather than adding color to all charts and widgets, consider keeping a consistent and neutral color palette throughout and then reserving one or two primary colors that catch the eye for the pieces of data or actions that matter most. Reserve warning colors such as reds and yellows for calling attention to crucial data points that need the user’s immediate attention at a particular time. Remember, when everything looks important, nothing is. Avoid overwhelming your users with color and instead use it sparingly to guide their eyes where it matters.”

Kaydee Gilson, Interaction Designer, Quickbase

Coming Soon

While mobile dashboards are now generally available, we are still actively developing the feature. Here are the next improvements we’ll work on:

  • Improved landscape support

  • Filter enhancements:

    • Displaying applied filters on the dashboard screen

    • Supporting "Allow “contains” matches" and "Allow user to choose" settings for the text filters.

  • QR code scanner in Search widget

  • Optimized display of column properties within a table report widget


We look forward to seeing the new dashboards you are building for your Quickbase applications! If you come across any issues or need assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to us by submitting a technical support case detailing the problem you encountered.

We want to hear your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions for the future of Quickbase. How can we further enhance usability for mobile dashboards? Is there anything we can do to make your experience even better? What features would you like to see? You can share your feedback by going to to My Apps page and clicking Give Feedback. We would also want to express our gratitude to each and every one of you who contributed with feedback and insights throughout the development process. Your valuable input and suggestions have been instrumental in shaping the very features you see today.

To learn more about how we use your feedback, read our Feedback policy: Giving feedback

Published 2 years ago
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