Text: The application of correct text usage will provide a dashboard user experience where quantitative and qualitative information are easily consumable. There are several considerations when inserting text within your dashboard design.
Text Aliasing- When applying text to interactive dashboard applications you may have the choice to use Anti-Aliased text with Flash based applications like Xcelsius. Anti-aliasing is applied to larger fonts, provides smoothly rendered curves and angles . When using small typefaces you always want to use device fonts, which will render the text as Aliased. As you will see in the example below, the aliased text is much easier to read with a smaller font size.
Typeface (Serif vs San-Serif)- In choosing typefaces for dashboards, you will always want to use San-Serif fonts, that is fonts without the serif accents. Arial and Verdana are san-serif fonts, and enable an end user to read text on the computer screen much easier than serif fonts (example: times roman). Serif fonts are best applied in large bodies of printed text for readability. There is no value in using multiple fonts in a dashboard, so pick 1 san-serif font that works well for you.
Font Styles (bold, italics, underline, color)- Font styles provide a means to highlight titles or values that require specific attention. That said, you want to avoid using underlined or italicized fonts as a method to stylize your dashboard. For interactive dashboards, underlined text would represent a URL hyperlink, which has become the standard for web design. If you underline values, the end user will precieve it as clickable. Bold typeface can be used to highlight values but should not be applied to large bodies of text.
Though we have thoroughly covered color as an element of contrast, you will need to choose font colors that provide easy readability. Though black is a popular choice by many dashboard designers, it may eliminate an ability to use black as a highlight color. Assuming the background is light enough, you may want to try using darker shades of gray, and see how much easier it is on the eyes. For large bodies of text in tables or paragraphs, you want to use light background with darker text for easier readability. Using a dark background with light text makes the information a bit harder to visually digest and puts a strain on the end user’s eyes.