Here are five amazing recommendations by Avinash Kaushik from a post about how to make Web analytics dashboards better by simplifying.
Dashboards are not reports. Don't data puke. Include insights. Include recommendations for actions. Include business impact.
NEVER leave data interpretation to the executives (let them opine on your recommendations for actions with benefit of their wisdom and awareness of business strategy).
When it comes to key performance indicators, segments and your recommendations make sure you cover the end-to-end acquisition, behavior and outcomes.
Context is everything. Great dashboards leverage targets, benchmarks and competitive intelligence to deliver context. (You'll see that in above examples.)
This will be controversial but let me say it anyway. The primary purpose of a dashboard is not to inform, and it is not to educate. The primary purpose is to drive action!
It's a long post but well worth reading. I also like these sentences:
Somewhere along the way we've lost our way. Dashboards are no longer thoughtfully processed analysis of data relevant to business goals with an included summary of recommended actions. They are data pukes. And data pukes are not dashboards. They are data pukes.