The Purpose of Dashboards
Dashboards have a simple purpose, to provide the user with all the information they need at their fingertips. The information is collated in the one place to remove the pain of looking through multiple reports (whether online or on paper) with only key metrics included. Performance must be presented in an easy to read format with changes highlighted. Metrics are both displayed within data tables and represented visually for identifying trends & patterns.
Philosophy behind these Templates
These dashboards are designed to balance the desire for all metrics possible against the need to not overwhelm users with data. They display the performance of each metric compared against an equivalent period. Trends are also displayed visually with 13 to 15 periods contained within each chart, depending on whether the Dashboards is created for Daily, Weekly or Monthly use. Up to six segments can be applied to each dashboard through a simple drop-down with the same feature allowing users to select which metric/s are displayed in charts.
Every organisation has different business intelligence needs and so the metrics/segments contained within their dashboards need to be different. These dashboard templates are designed to be very customisable. The user can use these with any metrics or segments they desire, simply by entering these in the set-up worksheet. Every dashboard can be used to review performance at daily, weekly or monthly level with alternative comparison periods for the choice made. Beyond this, the dashboard can even be customised with a colour scheme and name.
So basically, you can easily create your own dashboard within the template structure (three options available for the Performance & Ecommerce templates). Just enter in all the relevant details and press the “Set-up Dashboard” button. Delete the unused dashboard worksheets along with the Setup Dashboard and Instructions worksheets. The process for updating the dashboard each period is also automated but you do need to develop your own method of updating the data in the Data Summary worksheet first. The solution may be an API, copy & paste or simply entering data in by hand.
History of L3 Analytics Dashboards
L3 Analytics developed a structure/design for Excel Dashboards over the past few years while working with a variety of clients. This structure could easily be customised to different situations & information needs and work with any set of metrics or data source. Excel may not be typically thought of as a design tool but these dashboards incorporated various best practice design features to be visually appealing while remaining incredibly functional.
A templated version of this Dashboard structure was released for free download by L3 Analytics in May 2011 with over 7,000 downloads that year. This template was incredibly customisable allowing visitors to define their own metrics & segments while choosing between six different layouts and even customising the colour scheme. The feedback was amazing with users around the world commenting on how easy they were to set up and such a simple way of displaying the data.
The template was updated in Apr ’12 and two new versions were released at the same time. L3 Analytics Dashboards are now being used around the world as a simple and effective way to communicate performance to all levels of any organisation.
While the templates are customisable, you may have specific requirements that falls outside of these layouts. L3 Analytics can create customised dashboards with the fee depending on the level of work required. For anyone using Google Analytics or Omniture SiteCatalyst, L3 Analytics is able to build an automated data extract allowing the updating of the dashboard to be completely automated.