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jrodriguez

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Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #1 
Hey Guys,

I designed the following CRM dashboard recently for my company and wanted to see if you guys had any feedback on how to improve it. I am completely open to what you have to say, if anything! Just want to make sure it reflects best practices. 

A few comments about it:

  • The dashboard shape was designed to fit several devices (Phone, laptop, tablet) since I din't find a good way to auto adjust the size. I thought people would prefer scrolling down, rather that sideways.
  • I redesigned the typically awful sales funnel into the "Open opportunities by stage" and "Opptys created last 4 months" to provide a lot more context. If you click on a opportunity stage on the left, it will filter the panel on the right to highlight that category. This helps in getting more detail behind the opportunity stage lines you can't see very clearly. 
  • You can click on anything to filter the whole dashboard.
  • I blurred some customer names
There's a lot of Stephen's advice mixed in there, so he's definitely an influence here! 

Thanks guys,

Joe   

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jhcarrell

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Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #2 
A few thoughts - 

  1. Consider de-emphasizing the the graph headers as the data is where we primarily want to direct the eye.
  2. See this recent thread on omitting the axis in favor of direct labeling as you have for "Expected Opportunities".
  3. A line chart may be more effective for the same.
  4. The color palette does not come across as part of a cohesive and purposeful design.
  5. Variations in color have been applied repeatedly when it isn't necessary nor helpful.
  6. Dashboards, as defined by Steve, are designed to be monitored at a glance.  Scrolling should not be required; yet, both the dashboard and individual graphs require it.  Consider designing different iterations the intended consumption medium (i.e. smartphone, desktop, etc)
  7. What needs our attention? What is performing as expected?  I can't tell from the design alone.

I'll defer further comments to other contributors.

Best wishes,

Jonathon

__________________
"In the realm of data visualization, we face many challenges that are worth pursuing. Creating an effective radial gauge is not one of them. It is a fool’s errand. Do I strike you as a fool?" - Stephen Few
jrodriguez

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Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for the feedback Jonathon. I'll be implementing as much of it as I can. 

A couple of questions:

  • When dealing with long lists, say "Open Opportunities" for example, do you focus on top 10 or condensed version of it to avoid scrolling? My thoughts behind this was to offer a quick glimpse of it by displaying 10 or so, but allow users who have more time to scroll if they wanted to. This is a dashboard, but I also want to allow users to drill for more specific information (if they have the time). So, I can find out what the biggest opportunities are for a certain customer in a given month by clicking on each of the graphs ("use as filter" tableau function). Hopefully they find the UX aspect of it to be intuitive. 
  • What color palette would you recommend for this type of dashboard? 


Really appreciate the help! 

Joe
jlbriggs

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Posts: 194
Reply with quote  #4 
I agree with several of Jonathon's points.

- The first thing that struck me was that there is a lot of space and attention taken up by the large solid headers. I would put a fair amount of work into reducing the salience of the headers, and increasing that of the numbers.

- I am also wondering if the trailing 'k' is real or a left over - are you really looking at half a billion dollars in open opportunities?

- I also agree that the amount of scrolling going on here seems very excessive. I think that the main part of such a dashboard should show mostly summary information, as concisely as possible. The more lengthy detail portions can be safely moved to a secondary screen, where they can be viewed more completely, without the surrounding clutter.

- The other main point that I agree with Jonathon about is focus - I don't really know what's important based on what I am seeing. The primary place my attention is drawn is to the July column of the expected opportunities chart (it's big, bright, and prominently place), but I would think that the numbers displayed across the top should probably get more attention.

- And then, the prior four months section - the chart and table are redundant. The series labels are repeated, once in the chart and once in the table, and are overlapping the axis labels in the chart. I think this is an area where the chart is sufficient for the dashboard, and a click-through can show the user a detailed table if required.

Not knowing what existed before this, it sounds like this is an improvement, with some steps in the right direction. I think it needs more focus on what's most important, and more thought as to what to include and what to move to secondary views to be truly effective.
sfew

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Posts: 812
Reply with quote  #5 
Joe,

Something that caught my attention immediately was the fact that you used a bar graph rather than a line graph to display expected opportunities and that you labeled the value for each month with precision to the dollar when the values are projected and therefore should not be displayed with precision. A line graph with a quantitative scale would show the pattern of change more clearly, with less clutter, and potentially in less space.

__________________
Stephen Few
jhcarrell

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Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrodriguez

  • What color palette would you recommend for this type of dashboard? 

Joe


When it comes to tasteful, effective color design, it is often useful to first design your graphic/dashboard in grayscale or black and white.  Then, add color sparingly and with purpose.

Consider your original design.  In it, there are several shades and hues of blue used as base colors for the different graphs.  This is an example of meaningless variation.  Instead, consider choosing a single (non-highlighting) color to use as the base for the dashboard.

This allows you to employ highlighting colors more effectively to draw attention to areas needing more immediate attention.

There are also several graphs uses different colors when it isn't warranted.  (see Open Opportunities by Stage, By Salesperson, By Product Type, etc. etc.)

There are several worthy studies and articles on color that may be of use to you, some of which are available right here on Stephen's site.

I hope this helps.

Jonathon

__________________
"In the realm of data visualization, we face many challenges that are worth pursuing. Creating an effective radial gauge is not one of them. It is a fool’s errand. Do I strike you as a fool?" - Stephen Few
jrodriguez

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Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #7 
This is really good stuff guys, thanks! I'll try to revise withing the next week or so and repost.

Cheers!

Joe
jrodriguez

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Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #8 
Hey guys,

Here's a revised version of the dashboard above. I thought I was a minimalist...but clearly I got a ways to go. As you can see, I followed a lot of your comments above and have implemented a lot of it. I really appreciate it. I wanted to follow up on a couple of comments above that I don't agree with though. Of course, I welcome your thoughts, as always. 

1. On the layout and excessive scrolling.

I don't disagree with this at all, except I don't think the users will perceive this as a simple static dashboard. I'm viewing this more as a self service analysis/business diagnostics tool. But, it is designed with people's time in mind. That means that the most critical metrics are delivered in order of importance (I'm still working on adding a little more context to some numbers). If the user has 10 seconds, they can glance at the top half of the screen, get what they want and hop off. If they have more time, they can scroll, and more importantly drill through the data. This is the main reason why I don't want to split the bottom half of this dashboard to separate location, users have the ability to click on anything and filter the whole thing by what they click (Ex. Top 10 National Accounts to spotlight customers). They can get a lot from it, depending on the time they have for each session. Some will be short, some will involve sipping coffee and digging a little deeper. I'm gathering user feedback on this soon....

2. JLBriggs, on your point above " - And then, the prior four months section - the chart and table are redundant....." 

This is really an attempt to do away with the typical, awful sales funnel. My objective here is to deliver the total amounts currently in each stage, and how many opportunities were generated during the last 4 months for each on the right side. The purpose of the last 4 months is to give the user an indication of opportunity input patterns. If some of these are low, it could potentially signal a slow down in sales in the coming months. Clicking on a stage on the left side allows you to single out and highlight the line graph on the right. Also, clicking on spikes on the line graphs, allow you see exactly what the opportunities were below under "Open Opportunities"


Let me know what you guys think. Really appreciate everyone's help.

Steve I'll see you in Oregon this September! 

Joe



Active Pipeline.png
sfew

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Posts: 812
Reply with quote  #9 
Joe,

I haven't had a chance to review your new design closely, but three problems popped out to me immediately:
  1. In tables of numbers, always right-align them in their columns. You're numbers are currently centered.
  2. Also in your tables of numbers, there is no reason to repeat "K" for thousands at the end of each. Indicate once that the numbers are expressed in thousands.
  3. In your bottom four graphs, replace the legends by labeling the columns directly. This will simply the reading of these graphs.

__________________
Stephen Few
jlbriggs

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Posts: 194
Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrodriguez

This is really an attempt to do away with the typical, awful sales funnel ... The purpose of the last 4 months is to give the user an indication of opportunity input patterns.


Getting rid of a funnel is certainly a worthy endeavor.  And I understand the purpose of showing the historic data.

My qualm is that by showing the chart, and then the table, with the category labels repeated (and repeated in such small spaces that they are cut off in both instances), you are showing a bunch of cramped, redundant information. 

It seems to me that showing the bar chart of the "current" status, and the line chart of the historic data, should be more than sufficient for a dashboard. Allow the user to drill through to a table of numbers if they need that level of precision.

That said, you've taken some strong steps to improve the colors and headings, and the line chart near the top definitely does a better job showing that information.

Good work overall.
jrodriguez

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Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #11 
Steve, thank you so much. I have made the changes. See you soon!


Jlbriggs, I see your point and it makes sense. Were only trying to detect patterns here after all. Here's what it looks like now. They can actually click on the line graph, or hover to get the values.

[image]


Thanks guys. Really appreciate the feedback.

Joe
bella_gotie

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Posts: 21
Reply with quote  #12 
If you mark all the gray area of the month it seems like you say that you have all the data of month, not just  a  average of particular time. I would recommend to just put a mark on X axis.
*sorry for my english זברה.png 
 

jlbriggs

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Posts: 194
Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bella_gotie
If you mark all the gray area of the month it seems like you say that you have all the data of month, not just  a  average of particular time. I would recommend to just put a mark on X axis.


I am not understanding 1) what the problem is that you're identifying, or 2) how the red bracket solves it?

The colored background for each period does not do anything to indicate what type of data is plotted by the lines - I can't see what it has to with "having all of the data for the month", vs an average.

As for the bracket, it is just confusing and distracting.
bella_gotie

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Posts: 21
Reply with quote  #14 
I put the red bracket just to mark the grey area and wrong place of tick marks. Data point must be above the tick marks and not between them. mhr.png 
danz

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Posts: 186
Reply with quote  #15 
@jlbriggs
I think what Bella tried to say was that a single centered axis tick per month would have been a better design considering that it was encoded the aggregated value of that month, not a value on 15th of that month, as the ticks positions might suggest on a time scale. I also think that the red accolade was just a way of showing where to look for the issue, I would be surprised to be otherwise. 


@bella_gotie
The question is: did Joe design a categorical axis or a time axis? If the graph was designed with a categorical axis, the axis ticks (if any) should be drawn in the middle of each category. But if this was the case, how appropriate is a line chart? So is clear the designed line chart is time related. When we design time charts we use certain resolution (days, weeks, months) and we usually mark the start-end of the resolution interval with grid lines, alternate colored bands or ticks and we center both the label and the encoded value.The fact we encode an aggregated value in the middle of the interval it does not mean it happened exactly in the middle of the interval, it is just a reasonable convention to do so. Joe design is correct.

I would probably skip the colored bands and the ticks, at least when they are such a small amount of months. I also find the extra dots rarely useful in a line chart, I would skip them as well.

(Note: I was busy writing the answer before Bella second post)



 


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