Thanks to Jeb, our Dashboard Spy at protosw.com, we have the opportunity to study a professional trading firm’s set of dashboards used for managing equity portfolios. From our Dashboard Spy in the field:
“I love your site. It’s pretty much the only place I’ve been able to find any material of use about dashboard design, and it led me to Stephen Few’s book – Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data, which as proved useful. Proto Software develops a product that lets users build custom dashboards in a GUI-oriented way. We’ve built several for users at banks and hedge funds.
I thought you might be interested in adding some of these ideas to your collection.
After collecting feedback from users, we learned two important things: First, real dashboard users really care about the data, and how much they can fit on the screen, not things like steering wheel graphics (loved that post!), so many of our dashboards have a more pared-down, table-and text heavy look now.
The second thing we’ve learned is that small tweaks to layout are extremely important for something someone is going to be looking at hour after hour, day after day, so we’ve made it extremely easy for users to edit layouts and formatting via drag-and-drop.”
Here is the Position Exposure Dashboard. The bottom table is driven by the selection of the row in the top table. There are plenty of controls to let the user configure the views.
You can drill down into the portfolio. Doing so brings up a pie chart which you can control to slice the data as you please.
When you need to adjust the portfolio and rebalance the mix of holdings, you use this screen. It lets you see the new mix immediately. Note the presense of the ever-so-popular “export to excel” button. This is one feature that all financial analysts feel they absolutely must have.
Homework: You can download the Proto Viewer product and try some of these tools for free, as well as get a free 30-day trial of the whole product. The download page is: http://protosw.com/downloads/get/viewer. Earlier in the post I mentioned the love for Excel that financial people have. If you need to study up on using Excel for financial analysis, the must-read book is Principles of Finance with Excel.
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 on business dashboards.