Think about a great conversation you’ve had, with no awkwardness or self-consciousness, just effortless communication. In data visualization, there is a similar concept. Your audience should smoothly absorb and use the information in a dashboard without distractions or turbulence—this is described by people in the data viz world as “flow.”
Psychologist Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi has studied flow extensively. Czikszentmihalyi and other researchers found that people experience flow when their skills are engaged and they’re being challenged just the right amount.
Flow is correlated with happiness, creativity, and productivity.
So how do you create flow for your audience? As a dashboard designer, it’s your job to create the smoothest possible experience for users, without unwelcome or obtrusive elements. This is how you create dashboards that persuade, inform, and engage.