The move towards cleaner UI Experiences and design layouts isn’t restricted to any one area of UI design, but dashboards may be utilizing the trend to its fullest. A Flat design with simple colors and fewer graphics lets users focus on content and features. This leads to a greatly improved user experience.
The cleaner dashboard aesthetic should be applied to icons as well. Small, flat icons will enhance the navigation and serve more as guides rather than eye candy. They should act more as navigational reminders than as pictorial enhancements to the interface.
The lesson here is to keep your dashboard simple. Users will appreciate a quick and easy overview of the information they need. A simple, clean and efficient dashboard UI will pay unseen dividends.