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The Edmonton Linux User Group
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I like that the material is there and it's useful: dashboard design mistakes to avoid, useful display guidelines, theory, etc.

I like that we both seem to think along the same lines: keep the display simple, functional, and pertinent.

There is one thing that I do not like: Many of the captions are along the lines of "This dashboard has problems." I would rather have seen the problems explicitly mentioned, possibily tying it together with the text a bit better.

And there is one thing I am at odds with: Treemaps. Stephen seems to love them (for the "right" data), but the example provided just seems to be difficult to decipher.

I've recently used the book as a guide for a dashboard created for a friend, and the result is anything but fancy, but it is very functional and useful. It is web-based, and has a single update button. Some of the data is updated on demand, while other data is updated on an appropriate schedule and drawn from temporary locations for display. At the top are a few key numbers, which are highlighted with red, yellow, or green backgrounds to indicate potentially severe issues that should be checked immediately, numbers that should be monitored closely, or numbers that are in the desired range, respectively. There is another group of data below that, showing numbers, percentages, and a horizontal bars which give relationships at a glance. A similar group showing the same information for an extended time period is below that (and sometimes is below the screen display, depending on the browser size or the browser text size - Stephen says that this is a no-no, since a dashboard is meant to display all key information at a glance; however, it is more of a convenience, since none of the other data need to have drill downs, and there's no reason to lose the main information just to show the secondary information. It is a simple dashboard, and a very minor exception).

I am disappointed that I was unable to make use of Stephen's "Bullet Graph," a very concise graph tool that displays a key measure, along with a comparitive measure, and qualitative ranges. It looks like a bar graph, but is much more sophisticated. You'll need to get the book to see it in action.

It is a useful book. I much prefer the negative and positive guidelines, to the theory, but it is all there.

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