© 2020 Elsevier Ltd City dashboards are increasingly becoming a tool of urban management and governance, used by administrations to monitor key urban metrics and the performance of services and policy. To date, however, there has been little research done from a users perspective of what constitutes a good or bad city dashboard and to establish essential user-centered design principles. In this foundational study, we examine four city dashboards with respect to their design, content, usability, and utility as experienced by existing dashboard users. The study presented was undertaken using a protocol analysis that elicited verbal reports through concurrent think-aloud sessions. In addition, critical incident technique procedures were followed to collect interaction data of critical significance to the users. A content analysis was then conducted on transcripts from these sessions. The research identified specific areas of concern to current dashboard users and led to the creation of new and informed guidelines for producing a dashboard system for Dublin, Ireland.