The Perfect Dashboard Design Example
This is the Perfect Dashboard. Beautiful with high contrast and plenty of white space for an infinite canvas of possibilities and scaling up design. It respects and expects all Design Systems’ needs while maintaining its rigid flexibility. It checks all boxed for accessibility, legibility, simplicity and intuitive design. Fitting beautifully in large screens and mobile devices is not an issue. The Perfect Dashboard covers 99,99999% of all B2C and B2B needs. It works for everyone and every intent and purpose, because it doesn’t work at all.
The Classic Dashboard Design Example
This is the Classic Dashboard. The easiest one to build and the fastest to get destroyed by the people who built it. It starts with some sort of navigation on the left and maybe on the top. Mostly static content exists on the right-hand side.
The Classic Dashboard comes to life as a simple and elegant creation. It carries no baggage, not yet at least, and offers limitless possibilities. There is more than enough space to add extra features. It is easy and fast to design and build. At first, maintenance and improvements feel effortless.
Then someone realizes that the people who use the Classic Dashboard complain. Accessibility is not so great. Features work only for subgroups. The ever ending possibilities come to a quick end. The struggle begins.
Design leads ask for a simpler and more intuitive redesign. UX researchers ask people what they want. PMs pick up fights for features in the new design. Time flies and management pushes for results. There is no time for testing or more research. The quarter is ending, but the design and technical debt keep increasing. A new team, a task force, takes controls of the product. They come up with many solutions, fast. This is the beginning of the inevitable design by committee and the death of the product.
The Flexible Dashboard Design Example
This is the Flexible Dashboard. Simple and humble in its entirety, this design is smart and powerful. Often it’s the hardest one to conceive when first designing a dashboard. No-one likes it at first. It falls victim of the MVP.
The Flexible Dashboard comes to life as a smart solution. It provides the flexibility to add or remove elements. Augmenting the defaults is powerful. A new section with metrics or a new shortcut makes the dashboard more useful. A new folder in the sidebar makes it more productive. It also helps the organization to understand its audience faster and deeper.
The Flexible Dashboard can also be a necessity. This is a quick remedy to the poor performance of the Classic Dashboard. It requires minor changes to UI and some back-end adjustments. Front-end developers will do their magic. It’s a win-win situation. Design system stays intact. Product vision is on target. Customization was part of the strategic roadmap, anyway. A brand new feature is born.
No-one talks about the lost work hours or poor UX. User centered design becomes an acronym. There is no mention of missed data or lessons. A race between two or more teams and PMs begins. Everyone wants to keep their front view seat in the new UI. There is only so much premium screen estate after all.
The Smart Dashboard Design Example
This is the Smart Dashboard. This is an advanced version of the Flexible Dashboard. It has smarts, it’s powered by AI, ML and all the buzzwords. If you are familiar with Google Analytics, you have already been down this rabbit hole.
Important features hide in plain sight, and that’s by design. At first, it feels as a polished version of the Flexible Dashboard. It provides ample room for customization. The ability to add custom folders, shortcuts, metrics and reports is there. That’s handy!
There is more. The Smart Dashboard takes a giant leap forward with its built-in intelligence. Often, dashboard operators have to check metrics and set alarms manually. That’s not the case with this new user experience. Important metrics appear automatically, and alarms go off when needed.
The operator spends less energy looking for content and more energy thinking and analyzing the content. Insights appear when something seems interesting or out of the ordinary. Alarms go off when metrics go south. New shortcuts appear to speed up navigation. Reports are auto-generated and are always one click away from sharing with the team.
The beauty of this UX paradigm lies in one principle. Decrease people’s cognitive, visual, and motor load. It is a big step forward and part of the future of dashboard design or any design.
The Adaptive Dashboard Design Example
This is the Adaptive Dashboard. A revolutionary UX design which adds a personal take on information analysis. Think of it as your own bird’s-eye view of massive data. If you use any of the popular social network apps, you are familiar with its mechanics.
Think of the dashboard’s data as pieces of content on a social network. Metrics are images on Instagram. Reports are searches for people and places. Shortcuts are hashtags. You get the idea.
The system monitors the behavior of the dashboard operator. With enough behavioral data gathered, the dashboard ranks its content. The more you use it, the better it gets.
Metrics hidden three levels deep now appear on the surface. Relevant reports and industry benchmarks find their way on the surface. Email addresses and colleague names appear pre-filled.
There is a big difference between the Smart and Adaptive Dashboard. The former looks at metrics and alerts for deltas. That is a difference between two parameters. The latter decides which delta (and more) is most relevant for each operator at any moment.
This post was originally shared as a Twitter and LinkedIn thread.