Although I am an avid reader that relishes ACM’s digital learning libraries that include selections from Safari Books Online and Books 24×7, I still enjoy getting physical books to read. I have yet to embrace video. I love the sound of silence and learning at my own rapid pace. Thus, my office is always filled to the brim with books.

Speaking of books, one of my peers recently sent me a copy of The Big Book of Dashboards by Steve Wexler, Jeffrey Shaffer, and Andy Cotgreave. Reading through this lovely book over the past weekend, I found it both insightful and totally delightful. Along with dashboard design best practice guidance, cautions and effective color blindness simulations, the authors also share a wide variety of real-world dashboard examples across numerous industries. As each dashboard is explored, design decisions are carefully evaluated. For anyone that gets tasked to design dashboards, The Big Book of Dashboards is a “must read”.

The Big Book of Dashboards
is a “must read”

What’s Inside

The Big Book of Dashboards

The Big Book of Dashboards is a comprehensive reference for dashboard designers. This book is jam packed with instructional guidance on how to best illustrate and communicate insights using dashboards. The authors provide invaluable, constructive feedback along with alternative design considerations. For a sneak peek, check out the online E-Sampler.


Source: The Big Book of Dashboards


Common use cases in healthcare, transportation, finance, human resources, marketing, customer service, sports, etc. are shown using popular data visualization offerings such as Tableau, Dundas Data Visualization, and more. Many samples in this book are also available as free downloads. In addition to desktop rendering, considerations for dashboard usage in print, tablet, smartphone, and conference room display mediums are also covered.

What I personally appreciated most in The Big Book of Dashboards

  • Conversational style of best practice instruction and opinions
  • Color blind simulations to illustrate user experiences
  • Plethora of actual dashboards in action
  • Practical advice for simplifying communication of complex analysis

Source: The Big Book of Dashboards

Last but not least, I giggled when I saw the “what NOT to do” cat icon by Eric Kim. Sometimes a crazy cat might be exactly what is needed to drive home when not to use pie charts, gauges and other not-so-great visualizations. The authors also share tips on how they respond to client requests for less than optimal visualization types.

Related Good Reads

Data Visualization Books

If you like my data visualization presentations and articles, you’ll likely love The Big Book of Dashboards. For other good reads on data visualization, dashboard design and data storytelling, the following books are also quite excellent in my humble opinion.

  • Envisioning Information by Edward Tufte
  • Information Dashboard Design by Stephen Few
  • Show Me the Numbers by Stephen Few
  • Advanced Presentations by Design by Andrew Abela, PhD
  • Storytelling with Data by Cole Knaflic