August 5, 2010 at 5:06 pm #107432
The popularity of dashboards is incredible! But can we really say the average dashboard is useful, interesting, or even relevant to the work we do, day to day? There are those few examples where a dashboard makes a lot of sense, like public safety. Nearly all the workforce is focused on the same, definitive issue—crime—and every head of the agency can fit in one room to pound out the problems and solutions with the chief. As soon as the problem is more complex, and most are, the dashboards we use today don’t make a lot of sense. Yes, platforms of digital, interactive information can be interesting (see work by AgencyQ); still, the indicators need to be smart—ever changing to fit the discovery of better answers, uptick in rigor of analyses, and relevance to employees (or public) using them. What do you think about government moving towards more “informatics” and “scientific” type platforms—can still call these “dashboards?”
August 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm #107438
I think one of the challenges is that dashboards that are easy to learn may not be sophisticated enough for an advanced user. Some of the early efforts are often more “eye candy” than substantive. You could probably learn a great deal from analyzing the logs and chart traffic to the dashboards. Then again, much depends on how you define a dashboard. What is the difference between a graph and a dashboard? A report and a dashboard?
August 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm #107436
Good point. There is not much difference. I guess the point is, like you imply, that information can come in any form as long as it is useful. Bells and whistles seem to be the point of the effort, when it should be engaging facts from the data. Thanks for your thoughts!
August 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm #107434
@David – I highly recommend these books for effective dashboard design:
1. Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data by Stephen Few
2. Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis by Stephen Few
3. Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten by Stephen Few
4. Balanced Scorecards & Operational Dashboards with Microsoft Excel by Ron Person
You might also want to check the emerging topic of Process Intelligence.
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