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Yesterday ASUG was lucky to have Mico Yuk, founder of EverythingXcelsius, and Ryan Goodman, founder of Centigon Solutions, ) to present their Xtreme Makeover Dashboard webcast, Part 2.  You can download the webcast without an ASUG logon by going to  Note you will need to download the .ARF webex player to play the webcast.

Part 1 Xtreme Makeover by Ryan good can be found here. Ryan said part I covered why we design dashboards and basic design principles.  Part II, this webcast, covers taking the design principles and applying to Xcelsius, using a methodical step by step process, functional, aesthetical pleasing dashboard design.

When choosing layouts, you need to remember that we only spend 3-5 seconds on a page when browsing websites.  Dashboard designers need to consider basic website navigation and need to know what users are accustomed to using, such as header, body, footer, left sidebar navigation.  With these Xtreme makeover tips, they keep it platform agnostic, but use XCelsius to apply to any dashboarding tool.

A three section layout is most common used layout.  They reviewed guidelines on specific layouts you can apply.  Don’t forget navigation – on left or right or top, and include header.  Mico made it clear that she does not condone spider charts.

I especially liked the project management dashboard charts showing the summary, timelines, issue and risks, resources, and dependencies.  Mico also reviewed the chart types (did you know that more than 5 slices in a pie chart could be trouble?).  Before starting visualization you should review when and how to use charts.  You also need to consider color schemes.

Ryan reviewed his checklist in getting feedback from end users/those using dashboard.  You need to get feedback from information consumers  — those who use/live with dashboards.  Ryan stressed that you should sit in room with end user while they use the dashboard.  Other items to consider:

1) Charts with too many datapoints
2) Gridlines are so bright they interfere with line segments
3) Did you effectively communicate what you intended?
4) Design your dashboard to scale?
5) Did you provide visual cues such as the print and help buttons?
6) Did you check with legal? If it is a public dashboard, check with legal.  If internal, may need terms of use, privacy
7) Did you spell-check?
8) Did you over-design – Xcelsius is not for drill-down/ad-hoc analysis/line item
9) Suggest saving as Template to avoid re-work

Ryan mentioned that support pack 3 of Xcelsius takes colors and binds them to a spreadsheet.

I learned a great deal and thank both Ryan and Mico for providing a great ASUG webcast.

Did you know you could get started on Xcelsius/Crystal Dashboard Design for free?  Check this out

 

If you are you not an ASUG member you should know that ASUG is now  offering SAP BusinessObjects customers who do not use other SAP  solutions a complimentary membership. Sign up today.  If you have any questions, please contact memberservices@asug.com.

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