Five personal analytics design principles

When designing a personal analytics system for your staff or customers you need to put their needs front and centre.

What is personal analytics?

A personal analytics program is an opt-in tool for staff or customers. Each staff member gets a personal dashboard, a rank on a leaderboard and weekly stories relating to their digital analytics  (eg. up 3 positions to number 5, personal best this week and so on) – this regular feedback motivates optimisation of the behaviours being tracked without requiring further rewards.  It’s like having your own Strava or Fitbit for work.

Businesses should run personal analytics programs for employees/customers/suppliers/partners because it is the best way of communicating to them about whether they are winning. It lets you show people how they can win!

Generally speaking your audience is not analytics savvy, they don’t wake up in the morning thinking “I must check my dashboard today”, struggle to process lots of numbers and don’t really optimise their behaviour in a regular, organised way.

To counter this, I propose five principles to include in any personal analytics dashboard design as follows:


It must be simple and easy to understand, whatever the format it is delivered in. Condensing multiple metrics into a single score does this.

Ensuring that ordering is only by that single score reduces complexity of options as does keeping to a single time period for everyone.

Calling out major achievements with digital badges is also a way to make analytics easy and understandable.


Notifying the user to changes and updates to their score is essential. In our super busy world we want our analytics to come to us, not the other way around. I’ve found that receiving your score via a tweet, push notification or email works really well.


We’re social beings so our analytics must be social. We’re interested in how we perform against others, and we want to communicate with others about our analytics.

Tracking analytics can also be more motivating when the player unit is a team versus other teams or the whole community against a collective target.


Having a common analytics framework among peers ensures everyone is speaking the same language. If everyone’s score is between 1 and 100 then that’s much easier to understand, compare and communicate.


Analytics alone can be too dry for everyday use. Converting analytics results into stories gives people something they can celebrate or commiserate. “Personal best today”, “Down 3 weeks in a row”, “You ranked 25th out of 100!” are all good story examples.


Like these principles? is the success tracking network that lets you design and run a personal analytics program for your staff or customers. The principles above are intrinsic in the design of any Rise Board. So, what are you waiting for? Try today.


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