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The Demise of the Personal Dashboard

I was recently asked how I would architect a personalized dashboard experience for visitors to a large, customer-facing website. My response? I wouldn’t.

A dashboard in a car or airplane makes sense. It’s not as if I could click “speedometer” while driving or press the “altimeter” button while flying. I simply need everything at all times. But virtual interfaces don’t have that same limitation. In fact they don’t have any limitations. A dashboard can have as much information as the most ambitious engineer can dream — and that’s exactly the problem.

Put it in context: Google recently announced the retirement of iGoogle, it’s own personalized dashboard, and I second their nomination to induct dashboards into the #doingitwrong hall of fame, joining the likes of internet portals, splash pages, and well, basically anything involving ActiveX or Flash.

Dashboard were a fun user interface experiment. They really were, especially compared to the static pages they evolved from. That was the whole point of Web 2.0, wasn’t it? Personalization? I mean, it was really cool to drag and drop widgets, and build a virtual command center to monitor my little corner of the internet, and that was fine when there wasn’t much internet out there to monitor. But the web collectively hit a tipping point a few years back. From push notifications to always-on e-mail, in more ways than we imagine, we now bombard ourselves with more information that we can physically process at any given moment. Quite literally.

Continue reading The Demise of the Personal Dashboard by Benjamin J. Balter

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Profile Photo Chris Cairns

You might be right when it comes to Personal Dashboards that try to aggregate info from various facets of your life or work. But Personal Dashboards narrowly focused on — say Personal Finance — work. Mint.com. Of course, you can say that Mint.com’s dashboard is just a feature of a robust aggregation and analytics platform, but it’s still a successful application of a Personal Dashboard.