The standard Performance Analytics chart color scheme is distinct, colorful and clear. But it’s not very unique or personal. If you want some more exciting color schemes I’ve put together some alternatives that will allow you to apply some different designs to your dashboards. I’ve included each color schemes as update sets, so you can easily import them into your own instance.
Table of Contents
- What makes a good color scheme?
- The standard Ui14 Color Scheme
- My custom schemes
What makes a good color scheme?
The colors of your dashboard have to look nice, but most importantly they should serve the purpose of clearly visualizing data for the user. There are plenty of dashboard with cool looking gradients, multi-shade single color graphs and variations of futuristic pink/blue neon palettes. But if you were to start actually using them to access data, you’d end up frustrated and confused.
There are a lot of guidelines for good dashboard, but in terms of colors I believe in the following principles:
- The combinations and shades of colors should make it easy to distinguish between different elements.
- There shouldn’t be too many colors, preferable 2-3 main colors. More can be used in breakdown widgets but the “big” visualizations should stick to a theme. In PA, the first 3 colors of a scheme will likely be the ones shown in most widgets.
- Colors can be bright or muted, but a general theme should be maintained. Mixing earthy color with neon futurism will result in a visual mismatch.
- A human can easily distinguish between 4 shades of the same color. Using more than that means the user most likely wont be able to tell the elements apart.
- Single elements of red or green will draw they user’s attention. Green means good and red means bad. Of course, this wont be the case if these colors are the main colors of the dashboard, or part of a harmonious color theme.
The standard Ui14 Color Scheme
For reference, this is the default out-of-the-box color scheme automatically applied to a dashboard widget. The colors are distinct, different and bright. For most dashboard, the 3 first colors will be the main ones. In this scheme, those are blue, green and yellow:
My custom schemes
For my custom schemes, I’ve included 8 colors in each main color schemes. For each scheme I’ve also added series of color shades for the first 3 colors of the schemes. These shades are designed to be easily distinguishable. They include 5 shades, since that is pretty much the maximum a user will be able to comfortably tell apart. If you have a breakdown with more than 5 elements, use the main color scheme for that widget. If you have more than 8 elements in your widget, consider using a scorecard instead as a visual widget will probably be too messy. Or extend the main scheme with additional colors.
This is simply a variation of the default Ui14 color scheme, with slightly muted colors for a more relaxed and modern look. The main colors are still the same. While the default UI14 scheme has 32 (!) different colors, in my version I’ve included the first 10 as muted versions:
The standard Ui14 color scheme vs the muted version:
As you can see, the difference is small but noticeable when applied to a multiple widgets on a dashboard. The blues, purples and yellows are much less intense.
Download Ui14 Muted Update Set:
Next we have a scheme with lively yet harmonious color palette. It’s named “Ripe” as the colors reminded me of exotic fruit or berries. The main colors are a light blue, green and purple.
The colors, including their hex-values:
And the three extending schemes for the main colors:
The scheme also includes a 3 color traffic light using the red, orange and green from the main scheme, so your target will match the widgets:
Download Ripe Update Set:
Next we have a scheme that draws its colors from another popular business intelligence application:
The colors are bright and slightly desaturated, giving the dashboard a modern and toned down look. The main colors are a greenish blue, red and yellow.
Just like with previous schemes, the update set contains three extended schemas for the main colors with distinct shades.
There’s also an included 3-color traffic light using the main schemes red, yellow and greenish blue:
Download PowerPA Update Set:
This scheme is a bit more bold. It makes use of bright pink and blue balanced by darker purples, creating strong contrasts. It might not be for every business out there, but it is a bit more fun than your average color scheme.
The main colors are pink, blue and purple:
And the three extended schemes of shade:
And the complementing 3-color traffic light:
Download Highlighter Update Set:
The opposite of the highlighter scheme, Casual consists of a dark blue complemented by a warm orange. It’s corporate friendly yet elegant.
The main colors are a dark green blue, orange and a beige with hints of orange and brown.
The three main colors are extended in their own schemes.
Casual Dark Blues:
And of course, a 3-color traffic light to go with your targets:
Download Casual Update Set:
A scheme which uses a complementing orange and blue as the main colors, with a green mint making the dashboard a bit more interesting.
The main colors:
And the extended schemes:
And the traffic light based on the main scheme’s colors:
Download Mints Update Set: