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How to hand-draw your dashboard mockups

When a client comes to us for a new dashboard, this is my favorite part of the process 💕


I start with a basic understanding of what visualizations the data will support; does it include history, what are the key measures and dimensions, etc.


Next, I do some brainstorming and sketching on anything I can find. It could be printer paper, my journal book, a post-it, napkin, whatever – something to help me hone in on a basic layout that seems like it could “work” for the use case.


Once I feel good about that, I’ll get out my grid paper and glue two or even three sheets together to accommodate the desired height of the dashboard. The grid lines are really useful guides when you want even spacing and (relatively) straight lines. I’ve used plain paper in the past and it never looks as neat.


With a dashboard concept and blank canvas in place, I sketch everything out in pencil first. Erasing liberally until I’m happy. (I did make a video of this part too, but it wasn’t that cool. I’ll post it in the comments if you ask 😉)


The video picks up where the mockup really starts to come to life. I use a combo of different colored Sharpies and colored pencils (yes, technically they are my daughter's!) to outline and fill in all the elements of the dashboard, aligning to the client’s color standards wherever possible.


When I’m all done, I take a photo with my phone so I have an electronic copy to share with stakeholders.


How do you mockup new dashboards?


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