How to Build a No-Code Client Dashboard to Modernize Your Business (With Examples)

Thierry Maout • Updated on May 23, 2022 • 10 min read

If you’ve ever had to present your clients with data, then you know how hard it can be to cut through the clutter of your marketing operations and showcase the results in an easy-to-digest way. 

Client dashboard example

Client dashboards allow you to present clients with a comprehensive data story.



Failing to translate your clients’ key multi-channel performance metrics into a comprehensive data story, makes it difficult for both you and your clients to take action and make decisions. 


Here’s where client dashboards prove a very valuable asset to your reporting stack. But they can be difficult to implement, especially if you lack coding skills or any developer buddies to help you out. For the dashboard novice, a lot of not-so-obvious questions instantly come up:

 




In this post, we will cover these questions and more. Let’s get into it!

Ready to build your no-code client dashboard?

Pull data from Airtable, provide real-time updates, and easily communicate project updates, KPIs, and metrics to your clients.

What is a client dashboard and why do you need one?


A client dashboard is a visual management tool used to display data. It’s usually updated in real-time, automatically, and is used to keep clients updated about project progress, KPIs, and metrics. 


Depending on your business model, industry and activity, there’s an array of benefits to using client dashboards. Some of the biggest are:

  • Transparency: Client dashboards allow you to easily provide real-time updates, transparently communicating value to clients. They also enable you to share data across teams, departments, and clients.
  • Efficiency: They can save your team time and effort, automating some of the data collection associated with reporting (no more copying and pasting values every week).
  • Personalization: Dashboards can be totally personalized to connect to multiple data sources and client accounts and provide the most relevant data.
  • Simplicity: No one likes to struggle through dozens of lines of data to identify key metrics. Dashboards allow you to view important data across different teams and departments in one place, and help showcase results in a straightforward, easy-to-digest way.


For client-facing businesses, dashboards are a modern (and often underrated) way to go above and beyond and visually provide transparent reporting data to clients. Need some inspiration? Check out these Startup Metrics charts created with Softr below.

Paid vs non-paying subscribers chart in client dashboard

With Softr, Startup Metrics is able to communicate their client data visually and transparently.

Marketing site traffic chart in client dashboard

Startup Metrics can easily show the steady increase in their subscribers over the years using charts.

Monthly Recurring Revenue growth chart in client dashboard

Businesses can showcase data such as their monthly revenue growth using live charts.

These are great examples of interactive, live charts that are automatically updated to provide total transparency while requiring minimal time and effort commitment on the team. 

What’s the difference between a client report and a client dashboard?


Now, you might be asking yourself, don’t client reports also communicate important metrics and or marketing data? The answer is: yes they do. 


But, client reports are typically static, one-off documents, while dashboards provide live information, often updated in real-time. Reports can be in the form of automated emails, shareable links, or embedding options. 


They often focus on how one business variable, like the popularity of your widgets, has changed over time and reflect that using bars or charts. Dashboards take that to the next level.

Client Dashboard examples


Let's consider a few client dashboard examples from different vendors to get a wider picture of the subject.

CRM dashboard by Pipedrive


client dashboard example by pipedrive

Dashboards can utilize multiple charts and graphs to convey data in a comprehensive way.

Source: Pipedrive

Marketing Dashboard by HubSpot

client dashboard example by hubspot

Marketing agencies can use dashboards to display information from multiple sources all in one place.

Source: Hubspot

Accounting dashboard by FreshBooks


client dashboard example by freshbooks

Invoices of old and new clients can be visualized in one view, so nothing falls through the cracks.

Source: IntegrateIQ

HR Recruitment dashboard by BoldBI

client dashboard example by freshbooks

HR Professionals can use dashboards to easily visualize the data they need.

Source: BoldBI

Management dashboard by DataPine

client dashboard example by freshbooks

Managers can use dashboards to view KPIs and other metrics all in one place, so they can take action easier.

Source: DataPine.

What are some popular portal use cases across industries?


Let’s take a look at how different industries use different portals: 

Type Best for Industries Benefits
Client Portal
  • Tech
  • Hospitality
  • Financial services
  • Recruitment
  • Media
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Easy access to work documents
  • Keeping track of client communications all in one place
  • UReduced customer care cost
Employee Portal
  • Financial services
  • Hospitality
  • Recruitment
  • IT
  • Tech
  • Wellness
  • Healthcare and insurance
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Retain talent
  • Improve HR operations
  • Streamline operations
  • Secure data sharing
Sales CRM Portal
  • IT
  • Tech
  • Sales
  • Education
  • Non-profit
  • Marketing
  • Recruitment
  • Optimized processes
  • Increase customer-centric interactions and automation
  • Reduce customer service cost
Investor Portal
  • Tech
  • Marketing
  • Recruitment
  • Hospitality
  • Financial Services
  • Increase transparency and visibility
  • Increase reliability by having a single source of data
  • Increase security
  • Streamline communication with investors
Knowledge Portal
  • Marketing
  • Recruitment
  • Advertising
  • Real-estate
  • Hospitality
  • Education
  • Non-profit
  • Faster integration of knowledge sources
  • Streamlined operations
  • Faster response to support tickets
  • Single point of access to organizational knowledge

And the list goes on. Do you want to create your own dashboard? Let us show you how!

Ready to build your no-code client dashboard?

Pull data from Airtable, provide real-time updates, and easily communicate project updates, KPIs, and metrics to your clients.

How to build a client dashboard?


Now that we have a good understanding of what client dashboards are and how they can help your business, time for the fun part: how can you build one? There are three main ways to go about it. 

1. Developing in-house


This is a common dashboard design approach that a lot of companies take for a lack of better options. With the help of their development team, they build client dashboards internally, hard-coding the features, functions, and integrations to pull data from various sources.


Pros:

  • Super customizable
  • Total control over the data 
  • Secure data handling


Cons:

  • Expensive (developer costs)
  • Complicated and time-consuming
  • Maintenance required


2. Purchasing a third-party solution


Another option is to use a dedicated dashboard tool, such as Tableau or Zoho Analytics. These turnkey solutions allow users to create dashboards and custom reports easily, sometimes without advanced technical requirements.


Pros:

  • Easy to set up and start with
  • Integrates with your stack
  • Features ready-to-use dashboard templates 


Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Data has to go through another loop (might cause security issues with clients)
  • Limited personalization


3. Using a no-code solution


The last option for dashboard creation is to build dashboards yourself with a no-code platform like Softr, using a drag-and-drop interface and a user-friendly communication with an Airtable database.


Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to set up, plenty of templates available
  • Great for non-technical teams that want a granular level of customization


Cons:

  • You do have to do it yourself


As you might have guessed, the third option is our favorite one by far. Let’s take a look at what building a client dashboard without code looks like, and go over some of the best practices to keep in mind.

How to build a client dashboard without code using Softr?


Building a client dashboard requires different steps, from planning to data collection, designing, and iterating. Let’s tackle it one at a time.

 


1. Setting up objectives and strategy


As with any project, planning and strategy come first. Ask yourself these key questions: 

  • Why do you want to build a client dashboard? 
  • What data does your client need to access? 
  • Which sources will these data points be extracted from? 
  • What dashboard features will your client need?
  • What type of charts will you provide?


It might seem overwhelming, but these basic questions should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent building something inadequate or starting something you’ll eventually have to start all over again (trust us, we’ve been there!). 


Here are 5 key tips for planning your client dashboard project: 

  • Keep the client in mind. As exciting as the project is, it should be about them first. Do they even want a dashboard?
  • Choose your data carefully. Focus on selecting relevant data points that address the goals of your client and accurately deliver key information.
  • Pay attention to the chart type. Different chart styles convey different messages. Make sure to choose a relevant design (more on that in the next section)
  • Involve the client. The best and easiest way to ensure you’re doing things right is to communicate with your client and get their insights directly.


Dashboards can have a “wow” factor that will make you stand out with clients, but they need to be valuable. Otherwise, they won’t serve any purpose past the initial impressive effect. The idea is that your clients check them often, isn’t it?



2. Building the dashboard with Softr


On to the fun part: It’s time to build! If you’re not aware by now, Softr is a no-code online builder that connects an Airtable database with a drag-and-drop, easy-to-use interface to create websites, web apps, client portals, and more.


Create Airtable dashboards by pulling data stored on Airtable and building attractive charts. You can select from different types of charts, including bars, lines, areas, scatters, pies, donuts, and roses.

chart build with the help of Softr from Airtable

Easily compare different metrics and display them using different charts.



If you ever built a chart on Excel or Google Sheets, the building process will be very familiar. After selecting the Airtable Base, Table, and View that the data should be imported from, you get to play around with the charts, selecting the X and Y axes, orientation, design, and more. 


Check out our documentation to learn more. 



3. Going live, sharing, and adapting to different clients


Once your charts are created, it’s time to supercharge them with Softr! User accounts and permissions enable you to assign different dashboards for different user groups, for example:

  • General KPI overview for managers
  • Progress towards project completion for clients
  • Quarterly ad spending for the marketing team


The sky's the limit here. Involving clients at this stage can be very valuable in understanding who has access to these charts and which data they need most. This will turn your client dashboards into an iterative and collaborative effort, providing more value and learning as you build a lasting relationship with your client.



4. Fine-tuning your project (optional)


Now that your client dashboard is up and running, you can consider some of the extended possibilities offered by Softr, and provide your clients with features such as extra collaborators, custom domains, single sign-on, and more. 


Explore Softr plans and pricing and find out which could be relevant for your own specific project.

How Softr can change your reporting game with client dashboards


Now you have a better grasp of what client dashboards are, how useful they can be for businesses, and how to start building one without code today. 


Dashboards are a way to go the extra mile for your clients, but they’re only the beginning. Look into client portals and find ways to incorporate your dashboards into an even more personalized experience, providing each client with an interface and data of their own.



We look forward to seeing your dashboards!

Frequently Asked Questions about Client Dashboards

A client dashboard is a visual management tool used to display data in an interactive and easy-to-digest way. It’s usually updated in real-time, automatically, and is used to keep clients updated about project progress, KPIs, and metrics.

A client report is a static and one-off presentation of the results achieved over a period of time. They can take the form of emails, shareable links, or documents and they are used to periodically communicate with your clients.

There are three ways to create a client dashboard. You can choose to: - Develop in-house - Purchase a third-party solution - Use a no-code solution like Softr Developing your client dashboard in-house might give you more control over the data and customizability, but it’s incredibly expensive and time-consuming. Third-party solutions are easy to set up and integrate with your stack, but they’re expensive and might cause security concerns for your clients. Lastly, a no-code solution is affordable, easy to set up, and great for non-technical teams. The only thing is that you have to do it yourself—but it’s super simple.

A digital dashboard is a Business Intelligence (BI) tool that is used to acquire, consolidate, and visually represent data across different teams and departments, allowing end-users to make data-driven decisions without needing to be trained data analysts.

A dashboard report is a visual representation of a company’s key metrics and results. Extracting data from multiple teams and departments, dashboards give their users an at-a-glance and comprehensive view of the company’s performance.

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