How Dashboards Become Product Feature Landfills

July 2, 2016 / Design

Let’s be clear. I don’t like dashboards.

As a whole, dashboards seldom provide value to users. Often they serve no other purpose than a dumping ground of information and features.

They serve as an easy way to mask iterations and iterations of product design debt. It’s a slippery slope. As time goes on features that would normally be killed, end up on the dashboard. Worse, some will boast that they are solutions to problems.

A customer complains a feature is difficult to get to—put it on the dashboard.

A customer asks why they can’t find the information they were looking for—put it on the dashboard.

A product team argument about where to place a new feature—put it on the dashboard!

Do not let pages become bloated with useless features. It won’t take long for that two or three component dashboard to become a landfill.

If you’re a designer, avoid calling anything a Dashboard—even when designing a multi-component page. The label alone gives customers, managers and other stakeholders permission to toss garbage there.

Every feature you design should provide value to your users. It’s important because every new feature can take away from those that already exist.

Strong feature increases the number of people that use your product or the frequency with which they use it.