There are two core elements of any dashboard – the dashboard interface itself and the reports it generates. When creating a dashboard, most people will initially focus on the dashboard itself – its appearance, its layout and the data it will contain. However, it is also important to consider the appearance and components of the reports that are generated by this dashboard also. This is known as Queries Design, and this post will focus on Charts and Chart Views in a report.
The Oracle Design Guidelines specifically recommend that only 2-D charts be used in reports. 3-D charts and charts featuring gradients should be avoided. The recommended settings are Type: 2D, Stacked, and Style: Rectangle. Charts of differing shapes can make report layouts very complicated.
Another useful tip pertains to column widths. It is recommended that the column widths in the report be set using percentages as opposed to set values. This means that the column widths will be automatically adjusted when users view the reports using different screen resolutions. It is very straightforward to work out the column widths using percentages. If there is only one column in the report, the percentage column width should be set to 100%. Then if there are two columns it should be 50-50, if there are three it should be 33-34-33 etc.
Additional formatting can also help with the layout of reports featuring charts. In order to maximize space and to cut down on clutter, the Oracle Design Guidelines recommend that most axis titles be removed if possible. In order to achieve this, no text should ever be hard-coded into axis titles. In a further effort to maximize space, font sizes for the few necessary axis titles should be set to the minimal readable size, which is font size 8. Solid black gridlines can also create a cluttered effect, so all minor gridlines should be coloured as lightly as possible using a pale gray.