Monday, July 6, 2009

Dashboards can be Designed for Information, not just Control

Not all performance dashboards are used for feedback and control. Sometimes an information dashboard is designed to provide details about a process or environment to an individual or group that is interested in the data, but does not have the capability and/or desire to directly impact the results. Some examples being a group of investors, a Board of Directors, or maybe a Federal compliance agency, like UL (Underwriters Laboratory).

As with any dashboard, the general usability considerations outlined in my previous post Dashboards – Not just for Cars still apply. What makes an information dashboard different from a dashboard used for control and optimization can include the following:

  • May not be updated as frequently. (minimize information overload)
  • The criteria for “Normal”, “Caution”, and “Houston we have a problem!” are often more relaxed than a proactive control system.
  • The criteria used is often at a level of abstraction that provides basic, easily understandable information, but may not be meaningful to try to act on the information directly. It may be an aggregation of many inputs “Y = a + b + c + d” that would require further investigation by people that are closer to the inputs.

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