The Dashboard Spy

August 29, 2006

Automotive Maintenance Dashboard – a real-world, physical dashboard used by auto mechanics to inspect your car

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 8:28 am

Here’s a copy of Mr. Goodwrench’s inspection report. As you can see, it’s a real-world, physical dashboard using red/yellow/green indicators. The mechanic uses the sheet to report to you what has been and has yet to be done on your car. The red/yellow/green usage is a bit of a stretch. Does red mean it must be taken care of now because of safety? Or does it mean, take care of it next visit. I ask because it states that green means that the problem has been taken care of. Do things go from red to green during the course of one visit? Somehow, the old, trusty red/yellow/green from enterprise dashboards doesn’t seem to fit a scenario where someone is trying to sell you services.

Update: On further “inspection” (ha ha, get it? auto inspection? – oh, never mind), it looks like it might work like this: You pay for an oil change and the mechanic pulls out this sheet. Note that the lube, oil and filter service items are printed with the word “Completed” already filled in. Mr. Goodwrench then inspects your car and uses yellow or red to point out necessary repairs. Not bad actually. Now we need one for motorcycles!

mechanical inspection dashboard

Homework: The best way to make sure that your dashboard is a success is to really pay attention to the design phase of the project. Well worth studying is this lavishly illustrated book, Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data.

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. Hello Dashboard Spy. I enjoy your blog about information dashboards. It is good to see such information. I have been studying this topic for many months now and am glad to see so many examples. I will visit your site often.

    I was very interested in seeing your post about “KPI Requirements for Dashboard Projects – Using the KPI dashboards”. Thank you for the information about this dashboard topic. There is a dashboard project at work about this subject.

    The dashboards graphic is very nice. I like the colors and the questions are very interesting – What Question? Who’s Asking, Why is it Important, etc. I think it is very good. I also like the layout of the screen. I have a question about the boxes on the right side. Is the user supposed to type the answers to the questions into the boxes?

    Comment by saibaba — November 22, 2007 @ 2:10 am

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