Even though I work with Crystal Dashboard Design (Xcelsius) on a daily basis in the “real world”, judging the Xcelsius Challenge for Community Poll Results proved to be very interesting. While the challenge and the data seemed pretty simple and straightforward, I was very impressed with the quality and creativity of the submissions.
To be fair* in judging the dashboards, I decided to use a very ‘real world’ criteria. Overall, the dashboards demonstrated creativity, great data, and competitiveness. Each dashboard was graded on the following 3 criteria below and given a score between 0 – 5 (5 being the highest, 0 the lowest) for each criteria. The scores were then summed together to determine the winner.
* The results and ratings reflected here are based on my own personal perspectives and experiences and are therefore subjective. As fair as I try to be based on best practices, I am sure that another individual would judge the dashboards using a different criteria and get different results.
- Usefulness – Can the user make a ‘valued’ real analysis based on the data displayed?
- Desirableness – Does the design and functionality of the dashboard foster ongoing use?
- Creativity – Did the developer go the extra mile to incorporate any add-on components or creative elements?
* Details of each criterion can be found by downloading the presentation that I collaborated on with Natasha Lloyd of the SAP Business Objects Xcelsius User Interface team at SAPPHIRE 2010 in May 2010 by clicking here.
See the chart below for the final rankings by Contestant.
- Jim Brogden – It was obvious that a lot of time was spent not only on the UI of the dashboard, which is well branded to the event, but also a lot of thought was put into how a Winter Olympic fan would want to navigate through the data by sport and then drill down further to see the result details in one screen. Great job!
- Mike Allison– Great job on the design. Lots of good info.
- Yunus Kaldirim– Great job on the design. Easy to use navigation
HONORABLE MENTIONS – LATE SUBMISSIONS:
- Marton Harvoth – The best thing about this dashboard was its great use of the white space on the screen as well the Stephen Few approach to micro charting on the bottom right hand which was very creative. While it’s not obvious where to click at all times, the dashboard displays all the data a user would need to do a complete drill down analysis in a very cool way. Great job!
- Kalyan Verma – Very nice branding of the event with a consistent look and feel utilizing a variety of different charts. Simple and to the point, just like a true Xcelsius Guru. Great job Kalyan!
NOTE TO NEWBIES:
A message to newbies who are picking up Dashboard Design (Xcelsius) for the first time – don’t get discouraged by the rankings. Kudos to you for courage and willingness to pick up a new tool, develop new skills and joining the challenge. Keep it up! Don’t stop!
Most of the entries were very creative, but in general there are a few things that I saw across a number of the dashboards that we can all learn from.
Text Size – When viewing a number of the dashboard in different browsers the text on most of them were hard to read. It was clear that some of the developers never really exported and launched the dashboard in an actual browser to ensure the UI would be appropriate for the user. In the real world this would be detected during the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) phase!’
Useless Data – In an effort to provide useful analysis it appears that some users included a bunch of data that seem irrelevant to the actual numbers and may take away from the final analysis. In the real world we consider this scope creep!
Design vs. Usefulness – On some dashboards it was clear that the user prioritized the coolness and look and feel over the overall effectiveness and real analysis of the dashboard. Remember there has to be a balance in both. My general rule is nice to look at and easy to use! KISS principle. Keep It Simple Stupid!
I’d love to gain your feedback so feel free to comment to this blog or chat with me on twitter.