Monday, 27 July 2009

Dashboard Design Danny Davis Style

Danny Davis isn't a man to mess with when it comes to designing Dashboards and this one is the latest in a long line of class acts from someone that really does deserve the title of Xcelsius Guru.

Let's take a look at Danny's latest efforts here and see his style in action.

There is a great deal of information on this Profit & Loss dashboard, but it isn't overly busy. Danny has kept his non-data pixels to a minimum. White space separates the various sections of the dashboard. Clever use of colour contributes to this with hues seen being muted in each section. Scanning the dashboard quickly reveals everything that needs attention. Use of SpingGraphs and Bullet Charts is completely appropriate and allows the information to be consumed pre-attentively and at a glance.

White space alone has been used to delineate and group data. Borders, grid lines, and background fill colors are unnecessary and would busy the screen. He's made a sensible design choice to have a single help button to give instructions and descriptions that will not be needed beyond the first few views.

So what more than good dashboard design is there here?

Well, check out the hover overs all over this dashboard giving just a little more information at each point.

Click on the word "VPM" for Versus Previous Month Data being selectable. Sometimes you just don't want all RAG indicators to be shown as they can be overly busy on screen. This in my opinion is a particularly clever design choice.

Drop downs in most sections mean comparison is possible to other Divisions, Months and Countries. At the top we have the ability to let he dashboard show these months and Divisions scan through with the play button and the FFWD and RWD buttons. What about the Countries though? Another layer reveals itself for that...

Bottom Right, by the P&L by Country is a small Globe. Click this and the top of the screen alters with Dynamic visibility to reveal a mashup with Yahoo Maps focused on Europe but also a slowly spinning globe to allow you to pick alternative geographical locations. click the small Globe to hide this again.

Two tick boxes at the top (Show News etc.) and the bottom right (Contribution or KPI) further embellish this dashboard but in such a pleasant and subtle way as to add to it not make it heavily weighted towards the embellishments. Despite my inherent dislike of Pie Charts, the overall execution really works for me.

Finally, the typical consumer of P&L information, the Finance Team, will undoubtedly want to see the raw figures. Clicking on the on/off Sheet View / Scorecard button at the top right reveals exactly that.

For these and many other subtleties I haven't mentioned, you will appreciate just navigating around this dashboard, I've got to doff my cap in Danny's direction. A job well done and a lesson to us all in good design practices.

Few (!) could argue with that.

Until next time....

Varik Torsteinsen - July 2009

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