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Power Pictures Improve Effectiveness of Dashboards

Power Pictures Improve Effectiveness of Dashboards

New Zealand is an extraordinary place to visit with an incredible range of natural wonders, stunning landscapes and the remarkable Maori culture. One place of many not to miss is Rotorua which has all these attributes and the Te Puia park where you can see geothermal activity like boiling mud ponds, steam hissing out of the ground and the Pohutu geyser which explodes up to 90 feet high right in front of you.

Obviously, you should not get too close to any of these since you could be seriously hurt, so the park has erected small wooden fences that designate not to go further but without obstructing the view of these remarkable sights. Of course, people could still climb over or through these so they also put clearly marked signs with the fences. Visitors come from all over the world to Te Puia and the signs in English and Maori would definitely not suffice so instead they have made their warning signs graphical using simple yet striking infographics to get their message across. What I love about them is they have both adopted the Te Puia Maori village theme by making all the characters look like traditional Maoris and they have made them unconventional or humorous to get your attention.

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BI dashboards can be designed the same way and using infographics which are a little unconventional can really help improve the adoption and effectiveness of your BI applications. We saw this at the InfoSol Dashboard Awards at last year’s IBIS with the UAE Ministry of Health performance and clinical excellence dashboard. The entire dashboard was designed using out-of-the-box components from SAP BO Dashboards but by placing clever little patient/hospital infographics on top of some of the components completely transformed its look, feel and, more importantly, its effectiveness and user adoption.

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Infographics and pictographs are not new and have been used in many applications for years, but they are particularly powerful for BI applications where you want to get good user adoption and guide the user through the application to get the right information for them out of it. I have seen so many dashboards with lots of tabs and interactive functionality that goes mostly unused because it is not easy or obvious to the user where or how to find what they are looking for.

Today you should not have to train users to use BI dashboard applications – they should be simple and intuitive. Infographics can make that happen and add a little flair, pizzazz and appeal at the same time.

While there are plenty of libraries of infographic pictures around, I recommend the custom approach to really make your dashboard both unique and relevant. These can be created using tools like Adobe Illustrator and are usually best done by someone with a graphic design or artistic bent.

There are a bunch of great sessions at this year’s IBIS 2018 on dashboard design and the use of infographics both in the Dashboard and Data Visualization track and the Dashboard hands-on track. In addition, there is an upcoming Let’s Speak BO webinar on Designing Dashboards Using Infographics that you can sign up for free at www.speakbo.com.

I am hoping to see some great use of infographics in this year’s InfoSol Dashboard Awards and you still have time to enter.

About Paul

Paul Grill started his career in Information Technology in the U.K. in 1978, as an Executive Data Processing Trainee for Honeywell. More than thirty years later, he still has a voracious appetite for learning as Information Technology continues to advance at an ever accelerating pace. He was first introduced to the world of Business Intelligence in 1991, in France, when he saw a demonstration of an early version of BusinessObjects on Windows 2.1. He returned to the U.S. to rave about this phenomenal product, but it was many years before BusinessObjects made it into the mainstream. Paul founded InfoSol in 1997, and made Business Intelligence one of the key solutions offered by the company. Today, InfoSol is a leading SAP BusinessObjects solutions partner, known for its expert consulting, education and innovative add-on solutions. Paul is well known within the SAP BusinessObjects community for his extensive knowledge of Business Intelligence, and he has lectured and written many articles on the subject. Paul enjoys writing, running and coaching kids soccer, and is passionate about Ancient Egyptology.

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