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Gielovic

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 
I have a question for which I extensively searched for an answer. As I'm new to the forum I didn't find what I was looking for and thus I hereby start a new topic, don't know if this is the right place either.

I've got a request to design a 'dashboard-like' screen that future's the time remaining for a task. As soon as the task starts, the crew has X minutes to finish the job. The guy responsible for leading the crew needs to know per task how much of the time-window has passed, so that he can direct men temporarely to other tasks that run in parallel. 

Basically, this boils down to a couple of timers counting down from X to 0. Management would like to see hourglasses or clock-like visualizations, but after I attended Stephen's workshop a week ago, I have a strong feeling of resistance against such visualizations :)

Any suggestions? Would bullet-graphs be the answer? A problem with these might be that it's more difficult to quantify the time remaining when the bar is small at the end of the interval. Also, the time that has passed (right of the bar that would be ) might be more difficult to quantify as there is only a ´gap´ indicating which part of time has passed (given there is some kind of reference like a border on the right-hand side). 

Or should I just stick with a plain digital time counting down the minutes and seconds?


jlbriggs

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Posts: 190
Reply with quote  #2 
Definitely trust your instincts to avoid metaphoric graphics like hourglasses or analog clocks...

I think the bullet chart concept works here.  Really what you need is just a bar and a target line.

I would want to see something with the task, the bar chart marking the progress to the target time, and the countdown of the time itself.
I would want the target lines of each task aligned vertically, with each horizontal axis scaled accordingly, so the shorter the allotted time for the task, the faster the bar would grow toward the target.

As the time winds down, an indicator could begin to appear, and once time is passed, reach full saturation.

Here is a crude example:

http://jsfiddle.net/jlbriggs/6Z94R/embedded/result/
Gielovic

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks a lot for the reply jlbriggs. I very much like the idea you present to include a 'countdown' and growing the 'bulletgraphs' with it. Not sure whether having bars with different growth-rates would work. As the same amount of space remaining does not tell you how much time is left, without having to watch te animation for a couple of seconds to make a proper guess. 

jlbriggs

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Posts: 190
Reply with quote  #4 
It just comes down to whether you want to see the amount of time left, or the proportion of time left.
Displaying the amount of time would require individual scales on the charts, or target marks that are not aligned at a single point.
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