The Dashboard Spy

May 18, 2006

Enterprise Dashboard Mockup Wireframe Tool – the Cool Blue Template from The Dashboard Spy

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 1:36 pm

Not content with the hundreds of screenshots of actual enterprise dashboards and executive scorecards, Dashboard Spy readers have been demanding the release of my dashboard mockup and wireframe tools. These dashboard prototype templates are field-tested and have saved me hundreds of hours of work. Until now, they've been my own secret weapon. Now, I am releasing it to anyone involved in executive dashboard projects. Enjoy.

The dashboard templates come in the form of Powerpoint. The wide availablity of the software and the ease of use made it the eventual choice. Don't think that because it's Powerpoint, however, that it doesn't look and act like some slick html prototype. After you try it, you'll agree that this is some nicely done work. You can completely customize it for your particular situation.

My first release is the Cool Blue Template. As you see from the dashboard screenshot, it is a 3 column layout with smaller portlets on either side of a larger center column. The center is wider and features a data table. It's my own design and business users seem to love it. Claim it as your own and let me know the response. I'll roll out different executive dashboard styles now and then.

I've put the link to the template on The Dashboard Spy website. It's still under construction, but I've activated the home page and the template section. Over the next few days, more functionality will be turned on. Feel free to explore the site as more content gets posted. As they say, "If you like the blog, you'll love the site!".

Here are the links: The Dashboard Spy Collection of Dashboard Screenshots.

The Dashboard Templates page of the site where you can download this wireframing tool for executive dashboards.

Also, if you have feedback or a "How do I…" question on this dashboard wireframing tool, please post a comment.

Enterprise Dashboard Wireframe Tool

Homework: Remember to promote The Dashboard Spy when you can. Distribute the powerpoint to anyone who might appreciate it and come visit the site at http://www.dashboardspy.com. Links to that address are greatly appreciated as well as frequent visits to the site.

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.

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May 17, 2006

Airport Ground Operations Dashboard Screenshots – Traffic visualization, runway status, weather conditions

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 1:37 pm

Operations dashboards are used to monitor and optimize ground traffic operations at airports. A leading package, Aerobahn, comes from a company called Sensis. Obviously, a dashboard of this nature must accurately deal with real-time conditions and provide absolutely reliable data. You woudn’t want two jumbo jets occupying the same space at the same time. And you thought your enterprise dashboard was tough!

The first dashboard screenshot shows the status of ground operations such as runway status, arrivals and departures.

Operations Screenshot Dashboard 

The second dashboard screenshot is a query for runway occupancy.

screenshot of runway

This screenshot shows a visual of taxi-ing traffic.

Airport traffic dashboard

From the portfolio of interface designer LukeW comes this slick visual upgrade of the application. These couple of dashboard screenshots shows some great UI ideas:

New Look for the Dashboard

Refaced Traffic Dashboard Screenshot

Homework: If you need to study up on airport management, the place to start is the book, Airport Planning and Management.

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.

May 16, 2006

Flex Dashboard Screenshots – Deep dimensional analysis of large data sets with no user training

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 9:56 am

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.

Dashboard Screenshots

Data view

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.

May 15, 2006

Sales & Marketing Performance Dashboard – What not to do on a Dashboard – Carrying the dashboard metaphor too far

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — Tags: , — dashboardspy @ 9:52 am

Here is a performance dashboard screenshot that is full of information critical to sales and marketing departments. It has plenty of good metrics and KPIs like win/loss ratio, sales pipeline, top performers, lead status, pipeline, compliance and top performing media.

The information gathered is good. However, the interface leaves me shaking my head. I’m sorry to say it, but this is an example of what NOT to do. I’m about to rant now, so look out. Some dashboards are great, but others are just dogs. I have a pet peeve about the literal use of the dashboard metaphor. It was fun and perhaps even instructive for the users to grasp the concept, but only for a brief period back in the early days of the business dashboard. Note that the date on this dashboard screenshot is 2003. Dashboards as a concept were around for a long enough time by then that the use of an automotive dashboard graphic theme was inappropriate and amateurish. I believe that this dashboard product is still in existence so some poor users are still driving their business like a driving video game. Please correct me if I am wrong and send me some updated dashboard screenshots to show me that the product has been updated.

Why show an actual steering wheel in your dashboard? It “drives” me crazy. Dashboarding has grown up and users “get it”. No need for heavy-handed use of the dashboard metaphor. For fun, I think I will look for other steering wheels in executive dashboards. If you have any screenshots, please send them to The Dashboard Spy.

Enterprise Dashboard Screenshot

PS. IF you want to see one that implies the metaphor without showing the actual steering wheel, go to the Virginia DOT Dashboard.

Homework: I know that graphic design doesn’t come easy for most technical people or business users. If you are on a dashboarding project and have some input on the design of the dashboard, you must study up on the basics of graphic design before you weigh in. Start with the book titled The Elements of Graphic Design: Space, Unity, Page Architecture, and Type. As one amazon reviewer states: “I am a software developer by trade, but I also do graphical design for user interfaces and web sites. I can’t afford to absorb a large amount of material on this subject just to extract the essentials. This book is exactly what I need. The book is short, sweet, loaded with excellent examples and it teaches many of the essentials in an easy, enjoyable manner.”

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.

May 13, 2006

EU Utility Dashboard Screenshot – French language screenshot

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 7:22 am

I found this French dashboard screenshot, but all I have is an image and no accompanying context. It looks to be about utilization rates of electricity and gas among EU nations, but I'm not sure of the point of the screen. Can a French-speaking Dashboard Spy please parse this and provide some insight? Thanks.

Update from a Dashboard Spy with a French accent:

"It’s about the theoretical and actual openness of the electricity and gas markets per country in the EU.
in the EU, you are supposed to have the same choice of utility supplier as you are supposed to have on your DSL in the US.
The first column is the theoretical openness of the market – whether a customer can change supplier of their utility.
The second column is the % of large customers who have actually changed. “moins” is “less than”. "

Utility Dashboard

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.

May 12, 2006

Security Checkpoint Dashboard – a special event physical dashboard used backstage

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 4:12 am

My fellow Dashboard Spies know how much I like real-world, physical dashboards. Here's one from the Coachella Valley Music and Film Festival. It is a poster board mounted at various chainlink fence checkpoints backstage. Since there are so many event types and participants, it can be difficult for security agents to remember what areas the various ID bracelets entitle wearers to. Using this dashboard, the security agent can match each bracelet type to the picture and description and allow or disallow access. A check means entry is permitted and an X means entry is denied. Think of this as a real-world Access Control List with associated entitlements. Neat.

Concert Security dashboard

Homework: Event security is no joke in this day and age. Take a look through these books and articles on special event security.

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.

May 11, 2006

Personal Data Storage Dashboard Screenshots – Classroom technology, Student virtual lockers

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 9:38 am

A fellow Dashboard Spy sent me these dashboard screenshots of a school district's system used to manage user disk storage. The idea is to create a virtual "locker" for each student to house their data on the school network. The management of the users and their storage details is done through a series of dashboards.

In this first dashboard screenshot, we see a list of users and red/green/yellow status lights.

Enterprise DashboardExecutive Dashboard Metrics

Storage statistics are presented in this dashboard view using pie charts:

Dashboard KPI

Event statistics and health status links lead to the following dashboards:

Dashboards

Defining the users is always a major part of the system. Here is a view of that aspect:

Personnel Dashboards

Statistics are charted in reporting dashboards such as this one:

Reporting dashboard

Homework: The use and administration of technology in our school systems is a whole topic in itself. Browse these books on classroom technology. If you are involved with academic adminstration, don't miss this book on effective school district management. It's a valuable self-evaluation.

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.

May 10, 2006

Looking at Balanced Scorecards through Mind Mapping – screenshots of a mind map, strategy tree, scorecard

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 11:17 am

It's always interesting to look at what people are coming up with to improve upon old techniques. The idea of the Balanced Scorecard is about as established as they come. How about looking at it in a new light? Here is some balanced scorecard work by AKS-labs. As you see they have combined mind mapping with balanced scorecards. The first screenshot shows a typical mind-mapping diagram. The other screenshots show a Strategy Tree and a Scorecard for a particular idea. Visit the site for a full explanation of these screenshots.

By the way, did you know that according to the Financial Times, the Balanced Scorecard technique has been adopted by 80 percent of large U.S. companies as of 2004, making it the nation's most popular management tool for increasing performance? I believe that enterprise dashboards will see similar usage numbers in the future.

Mind Map Dashboard

Strategy Dashboard

Strategy Dashboard

Homework: Not sure what mind maps are? Take a look at the wikipedia definition of mind mapping. Here is a book on the subject . Also, flip through these free pages of books on balanced scorecards.

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.

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