dashboards

7 Dec 2005 - 8:26pm
9 years ago
11 replies
645 reads
skyburn
2005

Howdy,

We have been working on a portal type application and have the notion of a
customizable dashboard. So far in usability testing 6 out of 6 users have no
idea why we have a page call dashboard. It doesn't quite seem a problem
in function, but in metaphor.

Has anyone had this type of feedback?

-Joe

Comments

8 Dec 2005 - 7:16am
jrrogan
2005

That's too funny, I've worked on several application dash boards and never
had the issue that users didn't know why they would need the
dashboard, sometimes referred to as Executive Dashboard.

Most likely this never came up simply because of obvious utility of this
screen, in that it would be first in sequence, have summarization of data
and jump off points for manipulating this data.

Possibly nomenclature would be better revised to "Control Center" or some
such label.

What is the genesis of "Dashboard"/"Executive Dashboard"?

On 12/7/05, Joe Davidchik <skyburn at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Howdy,
>
> We have been working on a portal type application and have the notion of a
> customizable dashboard. So far in usability testing 6 out of 6 users have
> no
> idea why we have a page call dashboard. It doesn't quite seem a problem
> in function, but in metaphor.
>
> Has anyone had this type of feedback?
>
>
> -Joe
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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>

8 Dec 2005 - 9:49am
ldebett
2004

Hi Joe,

On the IxDA board, we are using a project management tool called Basecamp (
http://www.basecamphq.com/) that incorporates a "Dashboard". The "Dashboard"
provides the overview to all the projects and committees that are currently
underway.

Outside of my car, "dashboard" doesn't make much sense to me. I'd often find
myself lost within the tool when trying to jump between projects, not
realizing I needed to go to the "Dashboard" to see the overview. I would
prefer it called "Projects" or something more specific to the fact that it's
a PM tool. I've forced myself to remember the term, but I still forget it
now and then.

Just my $.02

~Lisa deBettencourt

On 12/7/05, Joe Davidchik <skyburn at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> It doesn't quite seem a problem in function, but in metaphor.
>

8 Dec 2005 - 10:46am
Jack L. Moffett
2005

> On 12/7/05, Joe Davidchik <skyburn at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> It doesn't quite seem a problem in function, but in metaphor.
>>

The origin of the word was a wooden board on the front of a carriage
that would keep out the mud kicked up by the horses. This then got
carried over to automobiles where the instrumentation was added. So
now, the dashboard metaphor as applied to computer software is a
single-screen display of multiple pieces of status information. I
believe the term works well in the case of Apple's Dashboard in OS X.
The many widgets are somewhat similar to my speedometer, odometer,
gas gauge, etc., if more disparate in content. However, the term may
not apply so well to a screen that, for example, lists a bunch of
documents, showing their status in a workflow.

I'd be interested to know if the metaphor can successfully be
translated to other cultures.

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.690.2360 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

In our society,
the scarce factor is not information,
it is time to attend to information.

- Herb Simon

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8 Dec 2005 - 11:48am
Gilles DEMARTY
2005

2005/12/8, Jack Moffett <jmoffett at inmedius.com>:

> I'd be interested to know if the metaphor can successfully be
> translated to other cultures.
>

The quick answer is "yes, it is the same in france".

We use a reporting tool in our development, and we use this metaphor
to describe a bunch of diagrams.
In the dev team, the term used is dashboard, since the language used
in the software is english. We use the term "Tableau de bord" for the
customers relationship (and in the french translation of the
software).
"Tableau de bord" is the exact translation of dashboard, and is used
in the same way in french (it is the place where the instrumentation
is set in a car, or in a plane).

hope it helps.

8 Dec 2005 - 12:40pm
niklasw
2005

In swedish the car-related dashboard translates as "instrument panel"
or "instrument board". I believe our word for the computer-related
dashboard is in most cases refered to as the "control panel". I don't
have access to a swedish version of MacOSX here so I don't know what
the widgets-word is translated as, maybe "mackapärer"?. So afaik no
relation to carriage mud guards here.

> I'd be interested to know if the metaphor can successfully be
> translated to other cultures.

8 Dec 2005 - 9:29pm
skyburn
2005

When this concept first came about, my first thought was also related to my
car. I often found it odd that really since i cant really rearrange the
gauges and change the data presentation of the metrics of how I am driving
or swap my radio position with the ac controll.

-Joe

On 12/8/05, Lisa deBettencourt <ldebett at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hi Joe,
>
> On the IxDA board, we are using a project management tool called Basecamp
> (http://www.basecamphq.com/) that incorporates a "Dashboard". The
> "Dashboard" provides the overview to all the projects and committees that
> are currently underway.
>
> Outside of my car, "dashboard" doesn't make much sense to me. I'd often
> find myself lost within the tool when trying to jump between projects, not
> realizing I needed to go to the "Dashboard" to see the overview. I would
> prefer it called "Projects" or something more specific to the fact that it's
> a PM tool. I've forced myself to remember the term, but I still forget it
> now and then.
>
> Just my $.02
>
> ~Lisa deBettencourt
>
> On 12/7/05, Joe Davidchik <skyburn at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > It doesn't quite seem a problem in function, but in metaphor.
> >
>

--
- Joe

8 Dec 2005 - 9:36pm
Akanowicz Ron
2005

I've seen this word a lot in corporate america- where once it was
"portal" now it's "dashboard!"
The metaphor refers to a place to see an overview of a variety of
functions - like a car's dashboard shows fuel level, speed, engine
temperature, etc.

I was recently on a project where they were moving some disparate
reports to one web-based interface- nothing fancy, just html tables
of data from different sources; but the insisted on calling this tool
a "dashboard." I found it rather annoying since it neither looked nor
functioned like a dashboard (in the literal or metaphorical sense).

Just another overused buzzword IMHO.

On Dec 8, 2005, at 10:29 PM, Joe Davidchik wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> When this concept first came about, my first thought was also
> related to my
> car. I often found it odd that really since i cant really
> rearrange the
> gauges and change the data presentation of the metrics of how I am
> driving
> or swap my radio position with the ac controll.
>
> -Joe
>
>
> On 12/8/05, Lisa deBettencourt <ldebett at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> Hi Joe,
>>
>> On the IxDA board, we are using a project management tool called
>> Basecamp
>> (http://www.basecamphq.com/) that incorporates a "Dashboard". The
>> "Dashboard" provides the overview to all the projects and
>> committees that
>> are currently underway.
>>
>> Outside of my car, "dashboard" doesn't make much sense to me. I'd
>> often
>> find myself lost within the tool when trying to jump between
>> projects, not
>> realizing I needed to go to the "Dashboard" to see the overview.
>> I would
>> prefer it called "Projects" or something more specific to the fact
>> that it's
>> a PM tool. I've forced myself to remember the term, but I still
>> forget it
>> now and then.
>>
>> Just my $.02
>>
>> ~Lisa deBettencourt
>>
>> On 12/7/05, Joe Davidchik <skyburn at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> It doesn't quite seem a problem in function, but in metaphor.
>>>
>>
>
>
> --
> - Joe
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

Ron Akanowicz
User Experience Consultant
786-853-1666
ron at softerwareconsulting.com

9 Dec 2005 - 5:37am
Dave Malouf
2005

> Just another overused buzzword IMHO.

I've actually found a lot of use for the word. I'm sure people are abusing
the term, but as someone who designed portal framework software, I did a lot
of thinking about portals and the different appropriate uses for the
portal/portlet concept.

First, this is what I call the class case of a word that used to be
specific, being generalized b/c the specific concept is too difficult, or
not consistently and clearly communicated. And the general word is too hard
to understand. "Portlet"? It doesn't convey anything meaningful about what
it is and so people use the term dashboard item to mean any type of portlet.
That is not the case.

I don't have another good word for "portlet" ... But I have come up with 3
distinct types of portlets and a guideline for what not to do in a
portlet/portal architecture:

1. filtered list - This shows a list of items based on either a personalized
or system customized filter query. I.e. Here are your last 5 unread e-mail
messages or Here are all documents pertaining to sales in Ireland for the
last 10 days. To-do lists, event lists, etc. are other good examples of
this.

2. action portlet - the classic one of these is a search widget. Both others
might be around starting a workflow process, tracking a shipment,
dictionary/thesaurus. The idea is two fold. Either it is a small widget
where the action and returned results can both be handled in a relatively
small space. Or! It is a trigger point usually that requires the selection
or input of a relatively small amount of data to begin the action, taking
the user to another non-portal-like screen like a search results page.

3. dashboard - A dashboard item displays intelligence about the system, but
not the details about the particular intelligence. I.e. being told you have
5 new mail messages (but not a list of them) would be a very basic
dashboard. Usually, in the corporate sense, dashboards for applications like
SAP, Siebel, and PeopleSoft give you more information than that. They can
tell you in the case of a CRM win/loss ratios for the latest period, in the
case of an ERP system, a gauge of shipments in vs. shipments out and let the
user know at a very high level if they need to take action. A calendar view
can be a type of dashboard item.

The idea behind a dashboard is that it lacks detail, and is glanceable. The
goal of a dashboard is to help a user make decisions for what to do next. It
assumes that people come to the application without first knowing what they
need to do, and are looking for a sign to help them make that decision. This
is particularly useful in broad applications that are multi-functional, and
mission-critical.

Where portals get abused is usually in not knowing what is too much of a
good thing, or not having filters on lists. I.e. in my application we have a
portlet of the entire repository. There is no filter on it (though one can
be added). People then stay resident in the portlet instead of going to the
main repository area, and then wonder why there is such limited
functionality within the portlet. Again, it is best that all portlets remain
limited scope and once you need to get to much information into it, you
probably aren't a portlet anymore.

-- dave

9 Dec 2005 - 7:15am
ldebett
2004

I don't think there's much controversy on what the "dashboard" does, but
what it is called. You could easily call this the "overview" or something
more specific to the application ("Projects", " Status", etc.). Especially
for people who come to the app without first knowing what they need to do.
The term "dashboard" doesn't seem to provide a good compass.

~Lisa

On 12/9/05, David Heller <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>
>
> The idea behind a dashboard is that it lacks detail, and is glanceable.
> The
> goal of a dashboard is to help a user make decisions for what to do next.
> It
> assumes that people come to the application without first knowing what
> they
> need to do, and are looking for a sign to help them make that decision.
> This
> is particularly useful in broad applications that are multi-functional,
> and
> mission-critical.
>
>
>

9 Dec 2005 - 3:21pm
Lyle Kantrovich
2005

On 12/9/05, David Heller <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
> > Just another overused buzzword IMHO.
>
> I've actually found a lot of use for the word. I'm sure people are abusing
> the term, but as someone who designed portal framework software, I did a lot
> of thinking about portals and the different appropriate uses for the
> portal/portlet concept.

While we're talking about buzzword concepts...

Another one I'm hearing a lot lately, but used in slightly expanding
ways, is "scorecard" or "balanced scorecard"...which often looks like
a "dashboard".

Lyle

--------------------------
Lyle Kantrovich
Blog: Croc O' Lyle
http://crocolyle.blogspot.com

10 Dec 2005 - 3:04am
niklasw
2005

Based on the discussion I'd call it "Taskboard" or "task board". But I
migth not be familiar enough with the english language judge that
properly-

> The term "dashboard" doesn't seem to provide a good compass.

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