We need a vocabulary of patterns for Command Centre Dashboards

Our justnow.io real-time dashboard project is one of many that aims to provide marketers and ecoommerce decision makers with information that helps them understand the impact of their decisions. We’ve particularly seen growth in social listening tools that present tweets, sentiment and influence scores for brands.  Many of these are very powerful but many suffer from a problem – they all demand attention and focus all or most of the time.

The problem is that the stories are not very visual and dashboards tend to present numbers or pictures of numbers such as charts and graphs that are hard to interpret unless you look carefully.

We’re used to looking at screens in different ways depending on what we are using them for.  Television is obviously different from an Excel spreadsheet both in terms of density of information and speed of updating.  And as we learn to use new screen formats, or old formats for new purposes (such as Command Centres and Data Hubs) we need to find new models of how to display and read information.

I recently did some consulting for a major brand who are building a new Data Hub – a nerve centre drawing together all of the data inside their global company, and not just social data but eventually store data and market data too.  They want high impact screens that tell stories; alerting them to opportunities and threats and guiding their communication with their customers.

We searched hard for a vocabulary or set of building blocks with which we could start to assemble prototypes for different screens; ways of telling interesting stories around the data to those standing and watching as well as those just passing by.

In the last few weeks I’ve started to capture screens that I can find across the web and perhaps I’ll start to categorise them to see whether such a language could be formed.  If you know of existing work in this area please get in touch.

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