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Winter Olympics Dashboard (Xcelsius) Challenge Winners

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.


  1. Usefulness – Can the user make a ‘valued’ real analysis based on the data displayed?
  2. Desirableness – Does the design and functionality of the dashboard foster ongoing use?
  3. 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.


  1. 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!


  1. Mike Allison– Great job on the design. Lots of good info.
  2. Yunus Kaldirim– Great job on the design. Easy to use navigation


  1. 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!
  2. 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!


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.

  1. 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!’
  2. 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!
  3. 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.


  1. View all entries!
  2. New Poll: What is your favourite Winter Olympics Sport?
  3. Xcelsius Challenge for Community Poll Results
  4. Xcelsius Challenge – Get ready to be amazed!
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    I am tracking SDN for 7 years. This challenge was really impressive and exciting. I was a team member and IT leader in a Xcelsius Dashboard project in 2009. That project was my and Turkey’s first big scoped SAP integrated implementation after SAP acquired BusinessObjects.

    We loved Xcelsius. It has a lot of capabilites to show creativity.

    Thanks for honorable mention.

  2. Former Member
    I think the entry from Marton Horvath should be disqualified coz the deadline for competition was April 30th 2010 while his entry was submitted on May 3rd 2010. It would be unfair to the people who worked hard to keep up with the deadline. Rules are Rules !!!
    1. Former Member
      Dear CD,

      I agree with you on the rules. I cannot accept the second prize.

      On my defense i have submitted it with a comment: “Hi Jason, Late arrival for the Olympic dashboard contest, out of competition. I could only work on it during the weekend.” Hope Jason can confirm that the original post also had that submissions were welcome after the deadline, out of competition as my intention was.

      Regards, Marton

      1. Former Member
        Please don’t take me wrong, nothing personally against you; and your work in definatley worth

        Just felt that assessment should also consider rules laid out other than Usefulness, Desirableness and Creativity .

      2. Jason Cao
        Hi CD,
        Thank you for your comment and keeping an eye on the original rules. It was an error on my part to include Marton’s submission when I passed along the list of candidates to Mico for judging.

        Hi Marton,
        Thanks for your note as well, and yes, I confirm receiving your message to let me know about your late submission. And yes, all submissions are welcome, especially if the intention is to share your knowledge and have fun doing it!

        I’ve spoken to Mico, and we’ll make a tweak on the post. Stay tuned! The results don’t change much though, and hopefully, we’ll be able to highlight submissions like Marton’s as well that are outside of the competition date (submisssions are still coming in! :-)). This is a “Challenge” afterall, and our catalogue list of all submissions will recognize everyone who has risen up to this challenge.

        Best regards,

  3. Marilyn Pratt
    Everything about this challenge shouts winner. 
    1) People – Great participation and fun to see how very international responses (Go Turkey)
    2) Product – Excellent looking dashboards and fun to see them so accessible, within the blog
    3) Process – professionally articulated results (great blogs from Miko and Jason and others around this initiative and the results).  Love the documentation and examples links

  4. Former Member
    Congratulations to the winners !

    Not only were the dashboards impressive, I am really impressed that several people jumpd in to solve the challenge.e

    Lesson : All parts of SAP suite could do these, and it will make learning even more fun.

  5. Former Member
    A fine contest marked by excellent participation from novices and experts alike, driven by a lot of encouragement from Jason and others and finally some incisive feedback from Mico – a good learning experience indeed.
  6. Jason Cao
    Congratulations to our Challenge winner (Jim Brogden) and honourable mentions, as well as all who participated! A few of our fellow members have already shared how they created their fantastic entries for this Challenge.

    Jim, and others, how did you do it? I hope you’ll be able share your experiences, tips and tricks, and other insights fellow dashboarding fans and experts can learn from.



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