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August 23, 2011

Do you mockup Dashboards before developing real ones?

In all of my consulting gigs, it is usual for the users to send Excel and powerpoint attachments containing dashboard looking presentations.

These are hand made, sometimes with manually handcrafted data, sometimes through other extracts and so on.

Often times, the management is presented with these as the final dashboards.

The management is happy, atleast no one is complaining. Part of the reason that no one is complaining because the management is aware that is really complicated to creat dashboard style presentations of summarized data.

Imagine, thousands of rows of multiple extract files is summarized in just few charts. IT is a huge feat. And kudos to all the users who are doing it. They are brave and they push the limits of excel to the max.

Most of the BI dashboard projects start with these Excel attachmentes. Now go automate it using our dashboard software. That is the requirement.

So as a dashboard developer/consultant my job is to present the best design. Sure the users existing work is useful but definitely should not bias my design. The logic in the Excel files is useful in understanding how the numbers are crunched but that should be it.

I usually sketch the dashboard on a paper using markers and then start the conversations. Most often times the user is surprised to see how different and interesting ways you can represent the same data.

So what do you use to mockup Dashboards?

Dashboard Wireframes

Posted by Small Business Dashboards at 1:30 PM | Comments (0)