Just a few weeks back I was reading about the recently concluded conference at Cancun from a news website. It Intrigued the idea of attaching a dashboard to the report so that the user can actually verify, relate or visualize what is been said. So I went ahead and integrated a dashboard to the content.
You can check this out at http://dataplugin.blogspot.com/2010/12/prototype-for-datagraphics-for-ipad.html
Full blog: http://dataplugin.blogspot.com/
(The content of the blog referenced above has been written by me)
Here is the brief overview of the idea:
Dashboards are interactive data analysis tools that can be incorporated in a HTML page or viewed in a Microsoft office or a PDF file. They can connect to online data sources, from government, non-government or voluntary organizations and provide a graphical interface of the extracted data to the users for their own analysis.
Since the data represented through a dashboard is not static image the users are engaged into the investigation of the report, with the help of inbuilt features such as selections, highlights or alerts and drill down options. For instance they can drill from a summary level in one chart to a more detailed level of data in another chart.
The data can be filtered and formatted thus ensuring more control of the data.
Advantage of Using a Dashboard: dashboards are an ideal tool for displaying, measuring, comparing and analyzing different indicators. They give an immediate and straight forward insight to the facts.
The dashboards are made in Crystal Xcelsius and are connected to the data source (websites providing data) using XML connection.
This way the dashboard is connected to live data, and any time the data is changed in the background (data source), it will reflect in the dashboard. Parameters can be set at the design time or at run time to limit the data to what is required. Data can also be restricted at the design level to ensure more control over the data being distributed.
Distribution model-These dashboards will be accessible through an http URL. Any webmaster can simply embed these dashboard components (SWF files) and use it in his website.
Ideal usage case: These dashboards are ideal for news websites; an e-newspaper webmaster can select an appropriate dashboard from our library and incorporate the flash file into his own website. The dashboard will be ready to use.
Ipads / e-book readers are going to be the prime distribution media for news services in the coming years.
With more people opting to read their daily news in their Blackberrys, I-phones or I-pads an integrated dashboard tool for more detailed study of a financial report or something related to the environment will be an USP for the news service providers.