The Dashboard Spy

August 18, 2006

Enterprise Dashboard Design Taken Too Literally – Enough with the steering wheel metaphor!

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 1:55 am

I know its just a pet peeve, but I really don’t want to see any more literal uses of steering wheels in enterprise dashboard design. Long time Dashboard Spy readers will remember my previous anti-steering wheel graphic rant about taking this metaphor too far. This screenshot goes even further. Now we get a night-time view of New York City to boot! Take a look at the slogan: “Dashboards for Driving in the New Economy”. This along with the clunky graphics just makes this sales effort too cheesy. I love a good metaphor, but this one’s way overdone.

Update: A Dashboard Spy says I’m being too negative and that I should provide a tasteful design in this vein for him to follow. OK, here is one that implies the metaphor without showing the actual steering wheel: Virginia DOT Dashboard.

Steering Wheel Dashboard Metaphor

Tags: Dashboard Design, Steering Wheel Metaphor, Designs to Avoid

Homework: If you are a programmer or business user who wants to dabble in the design and layout of your dashboard, be warned that the results may look exactly that way. If you want to try, however, you must read The Elements of Graphic Design: Space, Unity, Page Architecture, and Type and consult these books on graphic design basics

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 digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, send an email to info _at_ Also check out The Dashboard Spy’s books on enterprise dashboards. His current favorite is Enterprise Dashboards: Design and Best Practices for IT, the only book on actually implementing executive dashboards.

1 Comment »

  1. It’s really only somewhat worse than average. The steering wheel just makes it more obvious.

    Comment by Jon Peltier — August 18, 2006 @ 7:50 am

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