Xcelsius Flashback to 2005

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Have you ever gone back to old dashboard designs and picked out areas where you went wrong?

This week, I was working on a sales pipeline demo dashboard for a client, and the specifications included a screenshot of a demo that I built a long time ago. When I opened my archive I found the original source files dated September 2005, that was later re-branded when BOBJ purchased Xcelsius (see screenshot below).

The original dashboard was for Salesforce.com, which in 2005 was making major moves in the marketplace to become the leading software as a service CRM today. The good news is a dashboard design that I built more than five years ago still holds, water. The bad news is at there were multiple elements that were poorly chosen, so I replaced them for my latest iteration of this dashboard.

The first few things to go were my stacked bar chart. This is an inappropriate use of a stacked bar chart because it requires too much mental juggling not only to match the rainbow of colors to a key, but also to figure out the relative $ figures. Instead, I replaced it with a simple bar chart, which is significantly easier to read.

The next item to go was the gauges on the right hand side, now replaced with 3 bullet charts that not only communicate these values better, but also give me a good representation of the actual/target. With that, I now used half of the right bar, so I placed a sparkline showing the closed/won opportunitiy history for a rolling 12 months. Now instead of displaying 3 data points, I have hundreds using the same real estate.

The dashboard should be done in a few weeks, so I will see if I can get permission from the client to post it.

Let me know if there are bad practices that you used to implement that you now stay away from these days.

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2 Comments

  1. Maybe in 2015 sparkline and bullet charts are the gauges of 2005. I wonder what will be cutting edge then.
    Marketing departments and consultants will definitely create some new hypes. 😉

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