Conversion Rate Optimisation, Customer Journey Optimisation

7 Tips for Effective Dashboard Optimisation

 March 12, 2020

By  Will

CRO doesn’t end as soon as a customer signs up for your product – there’s still plenty left to do in order to ensure a frictionless customer experience (and essentially, customer retention).

I’m talking about your product’s dashboard here. Sure, encouraging visitors to even take you up on your free trial offer can be daunting but what good does your customer acquisition efforts do if you can’t convince those people to continue using your product once the free trial is over?

And sometimes just one look at the dashboard can discourage new customers from even giving your product a try.

With so many other SaaS products that are potentially better than yours just a click away, you simply can’t afford to put people off with a negative dashboard experience.

There are so many things that could go wrong at this point: confusing or unclear instructions on how to get started. Poorly designed layout. Trying to squeeze in too much information. And so on…

Luckily, this customer experience nightmare can be avoided with a few tweaks I’m about to share with you. Let’s dive in!

1. Showing state 

Show users the state of items or actions. In your inbox, for example, you can see whether an email is read, unread, replied, forwarded, so do the same in your dashboards. Show that tracking code has been implemented and verified, show that invoices are paid or unpaid or if a user has a limited number of uses, show how many they have left. 

This dashboard from SproutInvoices tells customers everything they need to know as soon as they look at it: the date, status, what’s the payment for and the amount (paid or unpaid):

2. Use actionable empty dashboards 

If someone’s dashboard is empty, don’t just display that they’ve created 0 social media posts or saved 0 images – give them a call to action instead. Ask them to complete their first task or action, and give them a quick way to do it. 

Trello does it really well – they prefilled their dashboard with a tonne of actionable tips on how to get started and even a few examples of past activities to give you an idea on what you can do with it:

Screenshot Source: InnerTrends

3. Recognition instead of Recall 

Let’s say you want to know someone’s preferences. What movies they like, what they like doing in their free time etc. Give them options – let them pick from a list of pre-set categories instead of asking them to type themselves. Not only will you get more responses, but you’ll also avoid a variety of spellings and terminologies. 

Twitter always gives you a list of interests to choose from whenever you create an account:

Screenshot Source: LinuxWebDevelopment

4. Show progress 

Include as many steps as possible to show your customers their progress. There’s a reason your local coffee shop gives you a pre-stamped card – it makes you feel like you’re already partway there. So, when you’re showing off steps, include as much of what the user has done already. If they created an account and chose a subscription plan, they’ve already completed 2 steps on the way to setting up their account completely. 

5. Use soft prompts 

Use softer prompts or even do things for people when possible. Google Docs saves your work as you go so you don’t have to worry about it. At the opposite end of the scale is Microsoft Office, which doesn’t prompt you to save until you click the exit button – which can be painful if your laptop battery suddenly dies. If you can’t autosave, consider a little pop-in reminder from the side which doesn’t get in the way of the main user interface. 

Screenshot Source: HowToGeek

6. Progressive reduction 

As someone completes tasks on a dashboard, close up the action and put a big green tick next to it. Not only will it take up less space, but it gives that little sense of accomplishment which will help push people forward. 

Progressive reduction also makes it easy for customers to focus on the key features that matter to them and not be forced to go through all of the features – including the ones they don’t need or are not interested in.

Nucore allows you to prioritise your tasks using customisable filters:

ScreenshotSource: UX Planet

7. Allow retries 

Similar to allowing edits, if someone uploads a picture or a file, don’t just say ‘thank that’s done’. Give them the chance to preview and even to start the task from the beginning.


Dashboards need to communicate the most important information in an easy to understand screen as well as to allow your customers to achieve their goals in a quickest and simplest way possible.

At this point in their journey, it’s not the price but the overall user experience and functionality that will decide of their next steps – convert or churn.

If you want to find out more about how to optimise your product dashboard for maximum customer experience, don’t hesitate to get in touch!


Will is a Customer Journey Marketing consultant, specialising in CRO, CRM and Customer Experience. Will has over 7 years experience working across a range of consumer facing businesses and has worked for huge brands such as MyVoucherCodes, Europcar, JackpotJoy, Virgin Games and Virgin Bet.


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