Interaction Design Principles

Dashboard Design Topic: Principles of Interaction Design for Dashboard Designers.

Dashboard designers and builders often back into the disciples of user interface and interaction design through necessity after a few business intelligence projects. Once they get a few dashboard projects under their belt, they realize that there are quite a few subtleties in a dashboard project beyond selecting metrics and applying information visualization best practices. Some come to the realization sooner than others. Those building a custom application with a dashboard tend to need to deal with interaction design issues sooner than those leveraging dashboard software platforms with their built-in user interface layouts and components. Either way, dashboard designers realize that they are building a user interface and need to apply fundamentals and principles that assure user satisfaction and acceptance.

Dashboard Spy readers tend to be a diverse lot with a variety of job functions and backgrounds. Even their learning styles are different. Usually we focus on the visual learners by showing numerous screenshots and image. Today’s post on Interation Design Prinicples is designed to appeal to those listening learners as well by using video content. As you know there is a Dashboard Spy site, Dashboards.TV, that collects video content regarding business intelligence dashboarding resources. From that library of videos comes today lecture on Interaction Design Principles. It’s a great resource that all dashboard designers should review.

From the O”Reilly Webcast, comes this 1 1/2 hour long presentation on the principles of interaction design. It reviews the six design patterns that are critical for designing web interfaces. The video is embedded below, but you may wish to view the high resolution version at youtube. The content is presented by Bill Scott, the director of UI engineering at netflix and follows the book titled Designing Web Interfaces: Principles and Patterns for Rich Interactions

I took the following notes during my viewing of this video:

Continue reading

Microsoft Silverlight for Dashboards

Continuing our examination of cutting-edge business dashboards using RIA (Rich Internet Application) technologies, we now look at the state of the art of Microsoft Silverlight dashboards. Never heard of a Silverlight dashboard? Well, it’s no wonder. By comparison, business intelligence dashboards using Flash, Flex, AJAX and other RIA approaches are commonplace. Working silverlight dashboards, however, are hard to find.

Because of the vast differences between older versions of Silverlight (current version is 2.0), dashboard examples found on the web often no longer work. Additionally, not everyone wants to bother with downloading and installing Microsoft Silverlight.

What exactly is Microsoft Silverlight? Roughly speaking, it’s a competitor to Flash/Flex technologies with some unique advantages and disadvantages. It is highly interactive and can be used to create slick, highly-polished applications with a big wow factor.

Infragistics, the long-time third-party component vendor that Dashboard Spy readers no doubt know, has been working on a set of components for Silverlight. They put together a sample demo application called faceOut that you have to check out. It’s a demo that shows off Silverlight and its application to scorecards and dashboards.

You’ll need Silverlight 2.0 installed to view the faceOut demo. Because not everyone wants to install it (or as often the case in enterprise environments, not allowed to install software), we’ve provided a Dashboard Spy video that gives you a sense of the interaction of the sales dashboard.

Let’s take a look at the video. Be sure to click on the more link to view the rest of this post, as I’ve also found a nice wireframe of the dashboard by the Infragistics designers.

And here is the video I captured of the Infragistics Silverlight dashboard. Click on the image to visit the video.

Video of Silverlight Dashboard

The above embedded video is in flash format and shows the Infragistics faceOut Silverlight Dashboard demo. If you’d like to download a higher resolution avi file of the silverlight dashboard to watch locally on your machine, use this link: Dashboard Video.

Did you like that catchy Dashboard Spy theme song, by the way? It’s still the only song out there about business intelligence! Now on to some more info on this Silverlight dashboard:

Continue reading

Project Status Dashboards in PowerPoint

Dashboard Spy readers never believe me when I tell them how many PowerPoint dashboards I see out in the field. Yes, that’s right – it’s not a mis-statement. I said Microsoft PowerPoint for enterprise dashboarding! Don’t believe me? Look within your own organization and I’m sure you’ll find project tracking, status reporting and other related task being done with Powerpoint. Believe it or not, I’ve even seen pharmaceutical marketing departments exchange data feeds with partner companies through powerpoints that contained embedded data tables!

Just because a dashboard is implemented in Powerpoint, however, don’t dismiss it as the output of someone who doesn’t know anything about executive dashboarding or enterprise reporting. It may be because of the installed user-base of powerpoint, the fact that you can distribute it as a powerpoint show (pps file) or simply the fact that most people are not intimidated by powerpoint, that it is being used.

For our dashboard example today, we take a look at this Powerpoint dashboard:

Powerpoint Dashboard Continue reading