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Moritz Heiber - Your dashboard sucks


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Take a look at your desk. Now take a look at the wall. Now take a look at your hallway. If you're working in IT delivery or infrastructure chances are your eyes have at least met one dashboard, if not more, while your gaze was wondering.

How often do you actually look at said dashboard(s)? How much of the information it presents is tailored towards you? Is the dashboard actually helpful .. is it .. valuable .. to you?

The way the human mind captures, processes and interprets information is different for everyone, however, the results for our dashboards are supposed to be the same: an informed human at the helm of their digital garden of products. The way we design dashboards though is largely different, an information overload, cramming as much information into them "because we might need them some day" and not because we actually need them. Therefore, we forego the one advantage dashboards have over other traditional methods of information capture: Immediacy and relevancy. And that sucks. Let me introduce you to a couple of examples and a few ways out of the information jungle. For better, well-informed decision making at a moment's notice!

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Moritz Heiber - Your dashboard sucks

  1. 1. Moritz Heiber
  2. 2. 22 Your Dashboard Sucks And how to fix it - informed decisions in overly noisy environments © 2019 ThoughtWorks
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  4. 4. WHY DASHBOARDS? 4© 2019 ThoughtWorks
  5. 5. “A dashboard is a type of graphical user interface which often provides at-a-glance views of key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to a particular objective or business process.[...]" 5© 2019 ThoughtWorks
  6. 6. 6© 2019 ThoughtWorks DASHBOARDS MAKE INFORMATION ACCESSIBLE Dashboards should: ⇨ Be simple, clear and unambiguous ⇨ Support the consumer with meaningful insights ⇨ Tend to a particular audience ⇨ Should be easily accessible © 2019 ThoughtWorks
  7. 7. 7 ⇐ MANAGEMENT DASHBOARD For keeping management informed and in the loop KPI DASHBOARD ⇒ For informed department meetings and keeping track of business relevant numbers ⇐ SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS For sharing specific public information relevant to the location and situation where it is consumed ENGINEERING DASHBOARDS ⇒ For keeping everyone on the team alert and focused on the most important events LOTS OF TRAFFIC ON THE M4 Sorry 24 minutes of delay © 2019 ThoughtWorks
  8. 8. INFORMATION OVERLOAD 8© 2019 ThoughtWorks
  9. 9. Turning information into meaning Making sense of what you are experiencing 9 All of your senses are involved, some you trust more than others to provide you with information Perception Making sense of the information you received and how the relate to your situation at hand Processing Committing the discovered result, its dependencies and its connections to memory Storing Connecting the processed information with other pre-existing knowledge and experience Connection Deriving meaning from the resulting connection and its dependencies Meaning © 2019 ThoughtWorks
  11. 11. “Complexity is the worst enemy of security. Secure systems should be cut to the bone and made as simple as possible. There is no substitute for simplicity. Unfortunately, simplicity goes against everything our digital future stands for.” → Bruce Schneier in “Secrets and Lies - Digital Security in a networked World” 11 COMPLEXITY IS EVERYWHERE It’s as hard to even realize a situation or event is complex Addressing it with simplicity can lead to other, sometimes even more serious issues Complexity has a lot of components, obscure dependencies, non-linear resolution strategies and information asymmetry Subjective experience and knowledge play a part in dealing with complexity NOT YOUR USUAL ANNOYING YAK © 2019 ThoughtWorks
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  16. 16. REDUCING INFORMATION OVERLOAD LEADS TO BETTER DECISIONS 1.Information available, but neither relevant nor requested 2.Information available and requested, but not relevant 3.Information requested, that are not available nor relevant 4.Required information requested but not available 5.Required information not requested, nor available 6.Required and available information not requested 7.Required information available, requested and relevant 16© 2019 ThoughtWorks example of graphic example of graphic 1 7 2 46 5 3
  17. 17. 1 out of 4 instances have failed health checks PROD Last updated 5 min ago MY SERVICE PROD Last updated 2 min ago MY SERVICE
  18. 18. DESIGN YOUR DASHBOARD TO CREATE MEANINGFUL INSIGHTS 20© 2019 ThoughtWorks Contextual Accessible Relevant Specific Stateless Simple
  20. 20. 22 REFERENCES “Informationsmanagement” - Marcus Wittkamp, Deutscher Sparkassenvlg.G (May 2004) - “Informationsstress am Arbeitsplatz: Ursachen und Bewältigung” - Martina Kittl, Böblingen, July 2015: https://hdms.bsz- “Elementarwissen medizinische Psychologie und medizinische Soziologie: Theoretisch-psychologische Grundlagen” - psychologische_Grundlagen “Vorlesungsskript Allgemeine Psychologie 1: Kognitionspsychologie” - PD Dr. Hellmuth Metz-Göckel, October 2001 - https://eldorado.tu-