We’ve been looking at some heavy duty business dashboards so let’s have a little fun today and examine this Golf Swing Distance Optimization Dashboard. It’s available for you to try out so feel free to twiddle the interactive dials. I had to click on the “How to Use this Tool” link because the input controls are not intuitive. The upper left box with the 3 gauges is where you change the ball speed, launch angle and spin rate. These are depicted as dial gauges when in fact they should be knob controls. As you know, dial gauges are for reading values and knob controls are for changing inputs.
Homework: There are 2 areas of follow up for you enterprise dashboard project members. First, if you are not familiar with Xcelsius as a dashboarding product, start with the Crystal Xcelsius for Dummies book. It’s quite a good introduction to this visually exciting dashboard technology. I’m reading it myself. In a nut shell, Xcelsius lets you present Excel data in a flash-based presentation. It is geared toward business users and lets them create a polished interface. The power of the flash components is that you can interact with them. You can literally turn dials and read the effects of your what-if changes on the guages. The second area of study is the need to understand the issue of usablity as illustrated by this wrong usage in this example of gauges versus knobs. Usabilty is key when presenting to the end user through a dashboard. Study up on the discipline of usability. Start with these usability books.
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.
PS: If you find yourself part of an enterprise dashboard effort, you must study Enterprise Dashboards: Design and Best Practices for IT, the only book on actually implementing enterprise dashboards.