The promise of the next generation of rich user interface dashboards is that with zero training a dashboard user can intuitively perform deep analysis across various dimensions. The data sets will be huge, but the performance will be fast and the user interface feedback will be instant. Too much to hope for? No, the future is now with the latest rich UI techniques such as Flash, Flex, AJAX, Xcelsius and the upcoming new Excel 2007.
The dashboarding gurus at brightpoint have just released their latest data dashboard on their dashboard gallery. This Flex-based dashboard is quite impressive. As told to me by their chief Dashboard Spy:
"This is a data dashboard that allows for deep dimensional analysis against 60,000 records of data with little or no user training. The goal of dashboard is to show what products are selling and what products are generating profit. The dashboard is aggregated by Product Category/Sub Category/Model Name and allows user to graphically track sales and profits across both the "Internet" and "Reseller" channels."
I've captured some dashboard screenshots. The interactive demo requires the latest Flash player beta download, but is well worth the trouble. The demo is done with Flex 2.0 Beta and ActionScript 3.0. Give it a try and see if the claim of "little or no user training" holds up.
Here are two views of the data dashboard. The first screenshot shows some of the drag and drop functionality. The second shows the data view that you get to when you use the dashboard-data radio button.
Homework: Do you know what Flex 2.0 is? Now that Adobe has purchased Macromedia, you'll see a really big push on Flex. If you need a backgrounder on this exciting rich UI technology, do a web search. There is also an upcoming Flex 2.0 book.
So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy's favorite books.