Windows 8 Server Manager Dashboard

Dashboard Spy readers have long heard me say that the dashboard is the new homepage. Every application and operating system I can think of would benefit from a homepage that shows status, metrics and is laid out in an easy-to-understand user interface. That leads to the dashboard, naturally. It is here to stay as the layout of choice for the display of information rich pages.

Microsoft has been saying how the Windows 8 design will have a dashboard-centric user interface that makes heavy use of tiled information portlets.

A screenshot has leaked of the Windows 8 Server Manager Dashboard. Take a look:

windows 8 server manager dashboard

windows 8 screenshot

Hurricane Tracker Dashboard

Take a look at this excellent example of a dashboard that effectively combines various business intelligence dashboard graphics and GIS interface elements to provide a data rich yet highly usable experience. It’s a Hurricane Tracking Dashboard.

Depending on when you are viewing this dashboard, of course, it will show different storms.

Here’s a screenshot right after Labor Day 2011. Hurricanes are on my mind of course because of the effects of Hurricane Irene on Long Island, New York, home of The Dashboard Spy. We lost power for 6 days!

Take a look at this screenshot:

Hurricane tracker dashboard

To view this dashboard live, go here:

Hurricane Tracker Dashboard

When Dashboards Can Mean Life or Death

How critical is the data on your business intelligence dashboard? Yes, we all say that our data is important – but can your data mean the difference between life and death? I’m not kidding – I mean that literally. Take a look at the data dashboard hanging on the wall of this operating room:

Operating Room Dashboard

Operating Room Dashboard

Read more about this critical medical dashboard here:

Operating Room Dashboards

The “LiveData OR Dashboard” integrates information from across the enterprise throughout the perioperative process.

Hubert Lee
The Dashboard Spy

Northeastern Earthquake Infographic

Dashboard Topic: Infographic on Virginia Earthquake / NorthEastern Earthquake. Yes, I did feel the northeastern earthquake. It was a magnitude 5.8 earthquake with an epicenter in Mineral, VA. I’m going to collect the infographics related to this quake on this post.

We start with this one from Our Amazing Planet:

Northeastern earthquake infographic

Our Amazing Planet Northeast Earthquake Infographic

By the way, please look at this resource about Northeast Earthquakes (NESEC The Northeast States Emergency Consortium). Here’s an excerpt:

History of earthquakes in the Northeastern States

North East States Earthquake Activity

Samples of Healthcare Dashboards

A big Dashboard Spy hello to the reader working on healthcare dashboards for the U.S. Army – you know who you are – thanks again for your service.

Here’s a listing of healthcare related dashboards featured in past posts here on The Dashboard Spy.

KPIs for a Healthcare Provider Dashboard
Healthcare Facility Management Enterprise Dashboard
Health Care KPI Scorecard
Hospital dashboard shows KPI alerts to management
Health Care Clinical Quality and Safety Dashboard
Nursing Quality Metrics
Healthcare Dashboards
Excel Dashboard for Hospital Bed Management

Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms

This was covered earlier this year, but is being provided again at the request of a Dashboard Spy reader looking for this again. It’s the most recent Gartner  Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms report.

Here is the link to the reprint from Gartner:

Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms

Here’s the famous Magic Quadrant diagram:


Gartner Magic Quadrant Business Intelligence

Gartner Magic Quadrant Business Intelligence


Sales Representative Performance Dashboard

A Dashboard Spy reader found a paper detailing specific problems when applying business intelligence solutions to sales force field performance management. First, let’s cut to the chase by showing what they feel makes for a good solution. Take a look at these two dashboard screenshots:

sales force dashboard

sales representative performance dashboard

Now, here’s what they say many people make in terms of mistakes:

Timely and accurate sales performance information provides necessary feedback to help sales managers manage and reps stay focused. Unfortunately, many companies struggle to provide clear and meaningful information to their field sales organization and/or distributors. When this occurs, compensation plans lose their punch and reps waste time building their own tracking reports.

The typical sales operations group will have a set of technologies and reporting tools that are fairly sophisticated in providing information for their field. Why then, is the state of reporting and analytics considered less than optimal at so many companies today? Some of the symptoms that are commonly observed when information is less than adequate are the following:

  • Sales reps are complaining about the lack of information, and question the integrity of their information they do receive.
  • Reports are often not more advanced than a simple set of statements, none of which are working in conjunction with one another.
  • Information must be consumed through a web portal, which requires an additional login.
  • Management has access to simple dashboards, but advanced analytics have not been set up for business users, so speedometers, temperature gauges, and other tools are very simplistic.
  • Management has been set up with a state of the art business intelligence solution, but the promise of “self-service” has not been realized because the tool is not designed to meet the needs of the business users.

PACU Nurse Dashboard

Medical operations dashboards always make for excellent case studies because mistakes can mean the difference between life and death. You know those stories about people that write “wrong arm” or “wrong leg” so as to keep medical errors from happening to them? Well, it’s an understatement to say that medical dashboards have to get the data presentation correct. Take a look at this screen shot and I’ll tell you more about it below.

pacu nurse operating room dashboard

pacu dashboard

Communication in the perioperative environment is critical for patient safety and effective teamwork. Team members need to know the name of the patient, scheduled procedure, patient precautions and allergies, along with names of team members working together for a given case. Over the past several years, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) developed an intra-operative dashboard in collaboration with LiveData (Cambridge, Massachusetts) to aid in the Timeout/Universal Protocol process as well as provide these critical communication elements.

Frontline clinicians imagined this type of communication would be beneficial if extended to the PACU environment to allow easy communication to the PACU staff and improved handoffs. In the typical environment, advance communication from the OR to the PACU often consists of a phone call upon completion of the case. The call alerts the PACU that the patient is nearly ready to leave the OR for the PACU and provides information related to the stability of the patient and any special needs the patient may have. If the patient requires more care than anticipated, nurses may need to reorganize assignments among themselves and find additional resources to provide appropriate patient care.

Accustomed to surprises, PACU nurses are adept at managing resources quickly and efficiently so that patient care is not compromised. Nevertheless, clinicians at Massachusetts General Hospital have continued exploration of creative uses for technology with the design, development, and introduction of an innovative tool to help reduce the level of uncertainty in the PACU and facilitate hand-offs from the OR. A “communication” dashboard that structures and automates the flow of crucial information about incoming patients is currently installed in a dedicated PACU as part of the MGH Best Practice Pod Project. The dashboard automatically provides a real-time global outlook of three operating rooms on a large monitor positioned in a central location on the PACU wall (Figures 2‚4). At any given moment, the recovery team can glance up and see:

Operating room number

Name of procedure

Operative milestone: such as induction, surgery start, emergence

Milestone timers:

Surgical time: time elapsed since the start of surgery until completion of the surgical procedure

Emergence time: time elapsed from the end of surgery until the patient leaves the room

Turnover time: time elapsed from the patient leaves the room until the next patient enters

Physiologic trends: patient vital signs with indicators for invasive hemodynamic monitoring

Anesthesia, nursing and surgical personnel working in the OR

When Down is Up and Up is Down

As a user interface and usability professional, I’m always excited when major shifts in software applications and operating systems happen. I always jump in as an early adopter just to experience the differences. Yesterday, I upgraded to Apple Lion and I must admit that my mind has been bent into a pretzel over the change they made in how scrolling works. It’s now “backwards”. I mean that literally. I know it’s hard to believe, but I know literally have to scroll down to go up and up to go down.

If you have a Mac, upgrade to Lion and get your mind blown just for the expansionary effects of it. Here’s a great commentary on the scrolling change. It’s from OS X Lion: New Scrolling Behavior:

For those who do not know yet, Apple, in the latest version of Mac OS X (Lion), in order to more closely align with iOS, switched the handling of two-finger scrolling behavior. In iOS, dragging your fingers from bottom to top scrolls down. In previous versions of OS X, two finger dragging on the track pad from bottom to top would scroll up. This behavior is now switched, so that bottom to top scrolls down. The same holds true for right/left. I’m going to give it the time to get used to it, but so far not so good.

I’m not sure the new method makes entire sense though. On iOS and touch-based devices, it completely makes sense as you are literally dragging the screen with your finger. It’s a natural interaction as if you are actually pulling a piece of paper up to further read the document. Before the introduction of multi-touch trackpads, scroll bars were the primary way to perform scrolling. Scroll bars naturally pull down to scroll down. As a result, you are actually dragging from top to bottom. Scroll bars were never meant to interact directly with the viewport, but rather was meant to specify where within the viewport the content should be viewed. It was like a range widget, for example. Both of these cases were extremely natural. Then, multi-touch trackpads came on the scene with two-finger scrolling to be able to ditch the scroll bars. In this scenario, Apple maintained the top to bottom equals scroll down mentality to make it similar to as if you were literally dragging the scroll bar. In essence, two finger scrolling was just a quick and easy way to drag the scroll bar. Now, that logic has been completely flip-flopped and Apple wants you to think in terms of literally dragging the content rather than interacting with a scroll bar. The problem I have with this is that you are not literally dragging and touching the document. You are interacting with a physical touchpad. Further, it is inherent to the brain that you pull down to drag down and pull up to drag up. For example, a mouse with a scroll wheel would still scroll properly as it just makes sense. You want to scroll down, scroll the mouse down. The same should prolly hold true for the touchpad. Otherwise, it is like trying to trick your natural brain impression. It’s like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach…sure it can be done but you have to trick your brain to do so.

Here is a test to perform for yourself. Imagine you have a touch screen macbook. Without thinking try to scroll this article up and down with your finger. You will prolly notice you tried to literally drag it from top to bottom to scroll down or vice-versa. It just makes sense which is why it makes sense on iOS. Now try to do the same experiment from the touchpad and you’ll almost certainly want to do the opposite because you are now thinking in terms of scroll bars, not windows (after all you are interacting with the scroll, not the window). The only question I have is whether that rationale is because we have become used to scrolling in that sense from trackpads or whether it truly is natural. Apple is betting on the former and expecting over time that the natural expectation will change to better align with iOS.



Michigan Government Performance Dashboard

Dashboard Spy readers know that I’m a big fan of providing government spending transparency by surfacing the data to the public via business intelligence dashboards. I’ve covered most of the government dashboards in use right now and I’m trying to “complete the set” by examining the efforts of each state.

Today, we look at the Michigan State Government Performance Dashboard. It is available at and here are 2 screenshots. The first one is from an earlier rendition. The second dashboard is the current production performance dashboard.

Performance Dashboard from Michigan State Government



Michigan State Government Performance Dashboard


The story behind these local government dashboards is a very interesting one. The impetus for these dashboards came from Governor Snyder and he used his State of the State speech to introduce and promote the dashboard concept.

The following is an excerpt from an excellent article on the speech titled Peering at Synder’s Dashboard.


The core of the speech was the “Michigan Dashboard,” a website setting out 21 measures of how Michigan is performing on the big-picture subjects: the economy, health and education, quality of life, public safety and “value for government.”

The Dashboard will be updated periodically to give both the public and folks in government an idea of how we stack up against other states — and indicate whether we’re making progress or not

Most importantly, however, it’s a public device to hold public officials accountable for performance. Devices like this are a relatively common business tool, a quick and easy way to see how things are going. The idea is to allow management to focus time and resources on important areas rather than waste energy on largely scattershot approaches.

But when it comes to government, introducing a transparent, updated, publicly available way to judge actual progress — or lack of it –is nothing short of revolutionary. It puts the focus squarely on actual data, benchmarked against other states.

Among other good things, it’ll help eliminate debates in Lansing based on incomplete or inaccurate information, or in many cases, on mere ideology. There is something enormously refreshing about our state’s leading political figure putting a priority on just the facts.

Bottom line: If Snyder wanted to make a qualitative change in the way our state is governed, installing the Michigan Dashboard in the heart of his State of the State speech was a great way to do it.

Snyder didn’t exactly invent this approach but few governors I know of have ever held up such a specific and public mirror by which the public can judge their success. In terms of other such metrics, the Oregon Progress Board has tracked the state’s standing on dozens of quality of life measures for years. and, The Center for Michigan has published since 2008 a “Michigan Scorecard” tracking 29 topics in a similar manner.

No doubt there will be reasonable quibbles about the dashboard’s design. There is little attention paid to the environment. Attendance at state parks is hardly the only good measure of how we’re taking care of our woods and waters. And the value-for-government chart shows Michigan state government operating cost as a percentage of gross state product (the best measure of the size of our economy) without benchmarking it against other states.

But overall, it’s a great step. And it signifies a governor who is interested in how things really are rather than how they might be.


I’ll cover more on this Michigan Dashboard soon.