The “art of dashboards”? Sounds trite and a stretch, but let the Dashboard Spy explain. We’ve heard it said that art is the expression of ideas, right? That it is a form of communication between people. One in which the artist understands and uses to his or her advantage the sensibilities of the audience to both inform opinion and shape ideas.
Well, that certainly sounds like what we do every day with business intelligence, doesn’t it? Business dashboards have the ability to not only to report metrics and KPIs, but to do so in a manner that shapes opinion, influences action and strikes varying tones of urgency. BI metrics may be cut and dry (and that is a debatable statement), but the communication of the meaning of the metrics is an art.
Business dashboarding is a highly visual medium. One that relies on basic human perceptions and principles of cognition. It is also an information-dense medium, in which the nuances of information presentation are tied closely with the ability of the dashboard designers to competently capture and express the metrics and their meaning. A screen full of icons, red/green/yellow indicators, pie charts, bar graphs, blinking alerts and data tables may only obfuscate the true message when presented wrong. We’ve all seen poorly designed dashboards that assault the business user to the point of numbness.
The reason I’m on this riff on the art of dashboards is because of some very interesting materials that a Dashboards By Example reader shared with me. Want to see some artifacts of a dashboard design team that clearly knows the art of expression through a business dashboard? Thanks to Andres, the solution architect at UberBI, a start-up company that produces business dashboards, we have this look at some wireframes, screenshots and even an interactive demo.
Take a look at this great hand-drawn wireframe:
And here’s an example of a final look and feel of the interface:
Gorgeous work, isn’t it?
We’ll detail some of the project infromation but first, let’s take a look at more project artifacts: