I need to display 5 numbers. These numbers are essentials and display a summary of all the dashboard. This web application will be use by professional who already work with this kind of data. Here is how I actually display them :


  • The first four cells are sum of data present in the dashboard
  • Plan = Actuals + Forecast
  • The last cell is the subtraction between Plan and Budget

Do you think a table is a good choice for display these data in a dashboard ?

Do you think the order of the cells in this table is judicious ?

The symbols ∑ and Δ are user-friendly and representative ?


You could graphically lay out the calculation so that users understand what is going on:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

I don't find the sigma symbol is well understood--you likely have space for a label like "Sum of Actuals" if that's needed.


I do NOT think the current table is a good solution. It makes me think of a spreadsheet, but then does not follow the conventions of a spreadsheet (with a totals column, etc.). This does not mean that a table is wrong, just that the current use is misleading.

The symbols do not mean anything much to me; you have to ask your actual users.

My solution is not great, but hopefully will help you think (literally) outside the box. Two things are important in my design: 1. The currency symbol. I assume we are referring to currency. Without the symbol, the numbers become harder to think about. 2. The most important thing is bold. I do not know that the numbers I chose are the most important, but it is a reasonable guess. Test with your users and see how they are thinking about these numbers. Is the $50 remainder the thing they are really concerned about? Or perhaps it is the Actuals and Forecast (in which case my design would be wrong)?

Good luck.

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