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tsissicran

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 
What technology was used for the sample dashboards in the back of the Information Dashboard Design book? (In particular the three on pages 197, 199 and 201.) I'm implementing a BI solution using Microsoft's BI stack (SQL Server, SSIS, SSAS, SSRS, + PerformancePoint) and I can't imagine how to create something as beautiful as those three sample dashboards.
grasshopper

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Reply with quote  #2 
I asked Stephen that same question, and he said he used a drawing package.

I have been able to reproduce most of the dashboards in his book using SAS/Graph - I've included them (along with the code I used) on my samples page.  Look for the ones with the yellow backgrounds...

   http://robslink.com/SAS/dashboards/aaaindex.htm

sfew

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Posts: 823
Reply with quote  #3 
Tsissicran,

As Grasshopper said, when I wrote Information Dashboard Design, I wasn't aware of any product that could at that time create the designs that I recommended, so I used Adobe Illustrator. Not long afterwords, Grasshopper demonstrated that my designs could be reproduced using SAS/Graph, and since then several other vendors have also demonstrated that their products can also do this. Given the software that's available to you, you might consider using Excel with the addition of an add-in product called Microcharts from BonaVista Systems, which adds sparklines and bullet graphs to the library of available charts. If you take this route, get a copy of either Dashboard Reporting with Excel by Charley Kyd or Excel 2007 Dashboards and Reports for Dummies by Michael Alexander (or both)--two books that teach valuable tricks and techniques for producing dashboards with Excel.

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Stephen Few
tsissicran

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Reply with quote  #4 
Grasshopper: Thanks for the link. Your examples are excellent. SAS looks like it gives you a blank slate on which you can add exactly what you want. I need to take a closer look at Microsoft's dashboard solutions (SSRS, Excel, and/or PerformancePoint) to see if they allow this much freedom--from what I've seen so far they don't seem to; but I have seen people do some amazing things with Excel (such as what Microcharts seems to have done).

Stephen: Thanks for the pointer to Microcharts and the two books. Microcharts looks excellent. (I'll have to ask them if they have an educational discount--I work for a K-12 school district).

Thanks again -- tsissicran
sburgess

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Stephen,

Nearly 4 years after this thread was created, do you see now any major software tools that are able to get close to what you designed in this book?
Here I am talking about a tool that is able to design something similar with out being a super techy code writer like the SAS chap above.

The main issue as has been stated in many threads is the micro aspect of the design, most poeple would be able to design something like it in Excel but without the bullet graphs and more importantly without connectivity to your BI data warehouse and publishing in web format.

Currently I am proto-typing dashboards in Excel and then handing it over to our Cognos developer to try and replicate in Report Studio, but surely there must be a better way given a perfect world and free choice of software to use.

-Scott
sfew

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Scott,

During the last few years, several software products that can be used to build dashboards have gained the ability to produce reasonably effective performance monitoring displays, but in almost every case you must work hard to avoid ineffective forms of display (bad charts, distracting visual effects, etc.). The products that can be used to design pixel-perfect dashboards tend to be those that are hardest to use because they rely on writing code. I'm still waiting to see a product that was primarily designed for efficient dashboard development, which makes the production of effective dashboards easy.

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Stephen Few
sburgess

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Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks Stephen, that is a bit disappointing, I guess we will have to stick to the tried and trusted design in Excel or Adobe and then send to the coders :)
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