Yesterday I attended and also spoke at SQL Saturday in Columbus Georgia. My presentation was all about effective dashboard design, tips and tricks how to make your dashboard efficient and some other things that you should definitely not do when designing dashboards.
Not even a day later I encountered a dashboard where I can back up two of my arguments that I included in my presentation. One of the arguments was that maps as a display medium are often used to make things look pretty and not because the geography is an important meaning of the data that is displayed. The second argument was that you don’t always have to make it pretty with images because displaying the most important things with just numbers is sufficient when it has a clear meaning. The dashboard that I encountered was the one that Delta Airlines offers when you start your internet browser (a similar page to an introduction page when you connect to a public hotspot where you have to pay for internet):
This dashboard has five indicators that displays nothing else but a few numbers, but these single numbers give me ALL the information that is relevant at that point of time. Also the map on the dashboard sends a clear message of where we are during our flight, so the geography dimension actually has a meaning to the message of the dashboard element.
Despite the fact that I told in my presentation that images should not be used in dashboard unless you really have to, in this case I understand that they have the link in the left bottom corner to suggest that I buy an internet pass. Thankfully that link is in a very subtle location on the dashboard and not at a place that is highly emphasized.
Personally I don’t care about the weather widget but hey, it’s in the most de-emphasized spot on the dashboard.
Time to prepare for landing…