Beyond Dashboards: Enabling employees to answer their data-related questions [+]
At the Astrup Farnley Museum of Contemporary Art, Nick Desbarats will take you through a 1 day workshop based on his upcoming book, "Beyond Dashboards: Enabling employees to answer their data-related questions"
As an independent educator and consultant, Nick has taught data visualization and information dashboard design to over 1,500 professionals in over a dozen countries at organizations such as NASA, Bloomberg, The Central Bank of Tanzania, Visa, the Government of Canada, Northwestern Mutual, The United Nations, Marathon Oil, Shopify, and Teradata, among many others. In 2014, Nick became the first and only educator to be authorized by Stephen Few to deliver his foundational data visualization and dashboard design workshops.
Despite the fact that books and courses on information dashboard design have been available for years, many dashboards still fail to meet users' and organizations' expectations. Users have trouble finding answers to basic data-related questions and fail to notice urgent problems because they’re hidden behind clicks, hard to notice, or possibly not even displayed on dashboards. Because of these and other problems, many dashboards still end up under-used or even abandoned.
Based on Nick Desbarats’ experiences designing dashboards for over 50 large organizations and teaching dashboard design to thousands of professionals, Beyond Dashboards uncovers the real reasons why so many dashboards still fail to satisfy users and organizations; reasons that go far deeper than the visual design on which most dashboard books and courses focus. Participants will learn a practical, actionable framework for creating a system of purpose-specific displays (problem-scanning displays, metric diagnostic displays, performance monitoring displays, etc.) that enables users to get answers to their data-related questions quickly and easily, including basic ones such as, “Is everything O.K. at the moment?”, often for the first time.
Who should take this workshop
The Beyond Dashboards workshop is designed for individuals who are responsible for designing or developing information dashboards for employees, partners and/or customers of their organization. Participants may be business intelligence professionals, data analysts, reporting managers, software developers, user interface designers, or have other, similar roles. Senior managers and other decision-makers who consume dashboards will also find the workshop to be of value since it will enable them to ask for dashboard designs that help them to be more effective at their jobs. Participants come from a wide variety of sectors, including finance, manufacturing, technology, health care, banking, insurance, government, military, non-profit, education, and others. No specific technical pre-requisites are required.
Major topics include:
Untangling the word “dashboard”
Recognizing that information displays that are often called “dashboards” can have fundamentally different purposes and types of target audiences. Review of the three major categories of dashboards:
“Engagement” dashboards for generating interest in a dataset among a broad audience
“Storytelling” dashboards for educating or persuading a specific audience
“Monitoring” and “analysis” dashboards for enabling an organization’s employees to answer data-related questions and be more productive
Note that only “monitoring” and “analysis” dashboards will be discussed in detail in the workshop.
The five types of data-related questions that employees ask:
Slice-and-dice / filtering
Why dashboards that attempt to answer more than one type of data-related question almost always fail.
The Beyond Dashboards framework: A set of purpose-specific displays
Problem-scanning displays for flagging problems and opportunities that require action among potentially thousands or even millions of metric values
Why problem-scanning displays are the most challenging type of display to design but also address the most serious and urgent complaints that employees have with conventional dashboards
Problem-scanning challenges: 24 causes of hidden gotchas, false alarms, haystacks and decoys
Determining which metrics to include and exclude on problem-scanning displays
Segmenting problem-scanning displays by user role and review frequency (real-time, daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
Why conventional ways of determining which metrics to flag on dashboards don’t reliably flag metrics that require attention (“hidden gotchas”) and often flag metrics that don’t require attention (“false alarms”)
“% change since previous period”
“% deviation from target”
The “four-threshold” method for flagging metrics that require attention
Using simple statistics to detect and flag problems among thousands or even millions of metrics and metric values
Problem-scanning on mobile
Examples of well-designed problem-scanning displays
Diagnostic displays for diagnosing a metric that’s underperforming, overperforming, or behaving abnormally
The four types of information on diagnostic displays that enable a problematic metric to be diagnosed 90% of the time:
Child metrics, peer metrics, metric history/forecast, influencer metrics, related metrics
The diagnostic cascade: Enabling users to quickly diagnose 90% of problematic metrics on their own, and to save analyst resources for the 10% of problems that require advanced analytical skills to diagnose
Examples of well-designed diagnostic displays
Performance monitoring displays for assessing organizational or group performance relative to strategic goals
The important differences between problem scanning and performance monitoring and how the metrics on each type of display differ
Examples of well-designed performance monitoring displays
Common pitfalls when selecting performance measures and goal-setting (brief overview only)
Note that general performance management processes such as strategic planning, goal-setting, KPI selection, etc. will not be discussed in depth.
Slice-and-dice displays for browsing and filtering large datasets such as customers, transactions, or employees
Best practices and common design mistakes
Examples of well-designed slice-and-dice displays
Complex analysis tools for answering ad hoc, complex analytical questions
A brief overview of the commercial, off-the-shelf software products that meet this need
Note that these tools will only be discussed in terms of how they fit into the Beyond Dashboards framework.
Canned analysis tools for performing pre-configured analysis tasks such as what-if simulation, forecasting, scenario evaluation, etc.
Determining which types of analytical questions can be safely answered by non-analysts using self-serve tools, and which require a trained analyst to answer.
Examples of canned analysis displays are shown but design principles and best practices for this type of display aren’t discussed in depth since these vary greatly from one tool to another.
Note that these tools will only be discussed in terms of how they fit into the Beyond Dashboards framework.
Navigation and discoverability
Designing a home screen that enables users to find answers to different types of data-related questions quickly and easily
Linking different types of information displays into a cohesive system that enables users to continue to find answers as new data-related questions arise in their minds
Educating and gathering requirements from users
Review of a typical, complete set of information displays based on the Beyond Dashboards framework
Recommendations on how and where to start
Maintenance and evolution of different types of displays
Topics NOT covered:
How to use specific software products to create dashboards. This course is not a software training course and no software or computers are used. The fundamental principles and best practices of dashboard design don’t vary based on the software that’s used for implementation.
How to create visually impressive dashboards. While visual design best practices are discussed, the goal is to enable participants to create displays that are highly functional and easy to visually consume, and these are usually not visually or artistically impressive.
Types of “dashboards” that have purposes other than monitoring and simple data analysis (filtering, sorting, etc.) such as interactive infographics, chart-based presentations, and advanced data analysis tools.
Performance management and measurement best practices (organizational and personal goal-setting, strategic planning, KPI selection, etc.), though books on these topics are recommended in the workshop. Examples of well-designed performance displays are shown, as well as how performance displays fit into an overall system of information displays.
The workshop consists of engaging, interactive presentation segments that feature examples based on real-world scenarios. Best practices are demonstrated, not just stated, so that audiences understand not just what the best practices are, but also why they yield dashboards and other types of information displays that enable employees to get accurate answers to their data-related questions quickly and easily. No computers or software are used. The workshop is one day in length with morning, lunch and afternoon breaks.
More about the Instructor:
As an independent educator and consultant, Nick has taught data visualization and information dashboard design to over 1,500 professionals in over a dozen countries at organizations such as NASA, Bloomberg, The Central Bank of Tanzania, Visa, the Government of Canada, Northwestern Mutual, The United Nations, Marathon Oil, Shopify, and Teradata, among many others. In 2014, Nick became the first and only educator to be authorized by Stephen Few to deliver his foundational data visualization and dashboard design workshops. Nick also frequently consults for large and mid-sized private, public and non-profit organizations, designing information dashboards for senior decision-makers and other roles.
For over 20 years, Nick has been designing information displays that enable senior decision-makers to make better, more data-driven decisions based on potentially large amounts of data, and to do so in less time and with less effort. He has extensive knowledge of data visualization, information dashboard design, business intelligence, data analysis, cognition and cognitive biases, perception, memory and learning, software design and development, and product management. Nick's first book, Beyond Dashboards, will be published in early 2020.
Nick has held senior management positions at several software companies and was a cofounder of BitFlash Inc., which raised over $20M in venture financing and was sold to OpenText Corporation in 2004. In 2012, Nick was granted a United States patent in the decision-support field.
Early Bird for before June 30th: 6.300,- NOK (Ordinary Price 8.800) The workshop will be invoiced after completion.
You may cancel at any time up to one month prior to the workshop. An administration fee of 10 % will be applied for such cancellations. Later cancellations will be liable for the full workshop fee. Substitutions can be made at any time.