Back in August of this year, Stephen Few, data visualization evangelist and author of the seminal book, Information Dashboard Design, announced a contest to design a dashboard following best practices and principles. The contest required participants to design the dashboard using student performance and assessment data that Stephen provided. Any graphic design tool (e.g., Photoshop, InDesign and Excel) or BI tool could be used to create the dashboard.
The winners were announced in October of this year. There were 91 entries. The contest focused more on innovative dashboard design principles rather than the use of BI tools. The winners and the tool they used are:
1st Place: Jason Lockwood Photoshop
2nd Place: Shamik Sharma Excel 2010
3rd Place: Joey Cherdarchuk Excel 2010
To the best of my knowledge (and Stephen’s), none of the participants used MicroStrategy to create their dashboard. A few of the participants did use Tableau and SAS. This fact alone made me want to create an innovative dashboard to demonstrate the capabilities of MicroStrategy (Disclaimer: I am not an employee of MicroStrategy and chose to use this tool since it is our internal standard BI tool. I am not endorsing MicroStrategy or any other tool for the purpose of creating this dashboard).
Each of the three winning designs contained elements the Apollo Group (my employer and the parent company of The University of Phoenix) was interested in for our proposed Student Performance Dashboard for our Education-as-a-Service (EaaS) platform. I wanted to be able to incorporate elements from each of these three winning dashboards into a single dashboard so that I had a prototype to show our internal business partners. In addition, I wanted to be able to demonstrate to them the capabilities of MicroStrategy.
Below is a screenshot of my MicroStrategy version of this dashboard. I created this using MicroStrategy v9.2.1 and their Visualization SDK (Adobe Flash Builder Professional v4.0.1/Adobe Flex v4.1).