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6 Tips That Improve Business Presentations from Dashboard and UX Design

Gustavo Vinueza brings a sharp perspective on communicating with visualization from a successful career in data analytics, Monte Carlo simulation, and problem solving.
Gustavo Vinueza has a sharp perspective on visualization from a successful career in data analytics, Monte Carlo simulation, and problem-solving.

Visualization is part of every business presentation. These six quick visualization tips from the dashboard and UX design space will benefit your presentations, regardless of your technical field.

Degree of Data-driven Maturity Level

Understanding an organization’s data-driven maturity level informs business presentations. Do you want to know how data-driven your organization is? Ask the leaders which tool they used to see the last monthly revenue report. Even better, ask if they developed the information or if somebody else prepared it for them.


User-experience (UX) designers use wireframes to propose elements for screens and webpages and show how solutions (visualizations) would flow for targeted users.

A good practice is defining the best data layout using wireframes. Consider the visual hierarchy, type, and story you want to tell your audience. Always bring your users to co-create with you. They need to quickly identify data elements such as KPIs, graphics, and data tables.

As a goal, generate layout patterns for the data elements in your dashboards. My colleague Nicholas Kelly has a complete wireframe kit that you can download for free.

Thumbnails in Emails

If you receive reports via email or an instant messaging application like Slack, the provided reports should include an up-to-date thumbnail image. This miniature visual should include easy-to-identify KPIs and actionable items. It is a simple but elegant productivity hack.

If you continue to receive a message that reads "Sales report 2022.05.31" with a link, that should definitely end. Why? You will have to click on the link, open the report in your visualization tool, and only then, take a look at the KPI. This generates a barrier that will prevent you from reviewing the information.

Thumbnails should be part of any information that you provide.

Refinement of Dashboards

Always save time by refining your dashboards. They fade out when businesses change or users switch focus to other measures or KPIs. This is part of each dashboard's lifecycle, and we should embrace it as a learning process. The challenge is reading the signals and preventing dashboards from becoming useless.

A related challenge is to make sure that you use the correct dashboard information in any report or presentation you provide. Simply grabbing the information from a dashboard without knowing when or for whom it was developed can negatively impact the effectiveness of your presentation.

Comment Layer

Some visualization software has a presentation layer or a place where you can change features such as titles, footnotes or gather comments without changing any of the base elements. So, for each reunion, you have the standard setup for the data plus an audience kit to personalize elements. This provides a consistent use of the data while providing secondary personalization for your audience.

Test with Small Group

Test your visualization with a small group of people before releasing it to a wider audience. Make the group as diverse as possible. It will get you feedback and validation. After the assessment is over, generate an action plan to improve your visualization, whether it is a dashboard, an application, or a presentation to senior management. Don't leave good ideas for later.

These six tips from dashboard and UX design can improve any business presentation. The I in FINESSE represents Illustrations, or visuals. A core aspect of FINESSE is to get the data right first and then focus on the user experience second. These six tips are consistent with the FINESSE approach.


Gustavo Vinueza is a Systems Engineer located in Cuenca, Ecuador. He is the current Head of Analytics at Betterfly, a disruptive Insurtech company expanding through Latin America and Europe.

Previous to Betterfly, he worked in the consulting, training, and custom development area of Palisade Corporation for eleven years, scoping and producing customized software solutions for Fortune 500 companies around the world. During his tenure, Gustavo leveraged his technical and financial background to understand the varied and unique needs of customers in many different industries to formulate better solutions tailored for each client. Before Palisade, Gustavo was a technology project manager at CorpBanca Inversiones, and a technology infrastructure manager at the Principal Financial Group, both in Santiago, Chile.

In addition, Gustavo has a range of experience in other technology and programming roles in the financial sector. Gustavo holds an MBA from the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires and a masters in finance from Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Santiago. He has published several articles in the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) forums.


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