Oracle BI Enterprise Edition: Dashboard & Report Design & Best Practices
Amy Mayer and Kevin McGinley
BI Consulting Group LLC
2008

In no more than 110 pages, Mayer and McGinley, the book’s authors, provide a concise overview of best practices on designing reports and dashboards. Even though written for Oracle BI Enterprise Edition, most practices described in the book are applicable to the majority of BI reporting and dashboarding applications. The book is based on the authors’ conviction that clarity, legibility, and flexibility are the main goals of good dashboard design.

The book begins with the introduction of six guiding principles of dashboard design. The authors then discuss detailed guidelines on designing tables (including pivot tables), charts, interactive elements (i.e. drop down lists to select report or dashboard parameters), reports, and dashboards. Surprisingly however, the book does not cover dashboard elements such as gauges, thermometers, and traffic lights. The best practices are illustrated with screenshots and a quick reference at the end of each chapter detailing step-by-step instructions to carry out the best practices. The book concludes by presenting best practices for naming conventions for reports and report objects such as prompts, alerts, and filters. Particularly valuable is the four-page appendix “Best Practice Checklist”.

The book is recommended reading for report and dashboard designers using Oracle BI Enterprise Edition. However, designers using other BI applications will also benefit. Because the book does not discuss topics such as gauges and thermometers, interested readers may want to turn to literature such as “Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data” by Stephen Few.