Creating Informative Desktop and Mobile Dashboards with SAP BusinessObjects Solutions

  • by Taha M. Mahmoud, Senior BI Consultant
  • March 31, 2015
Learn how to create informative desktop and mobile-device dashboards with SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards by enhancing the way data is presented in charts. Learn the difference between desktop and mobile-device dashboards, and how this affects their design. Gain some tips and techniques to overcome any unsupported components when developing a mobile dashboard.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article you will learn:

  • About the differences between mobile and desktop dashboards
  • Best practices for creating informative dashboards using SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (formerly Xcelsius)
  • Best practices, tips, and hints for creating informative mobile dashboards using SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards
Key Concept

Dashboard design is an art that requires designers to provide end users with information in such a way that they get the maximum value from it in the way it’s presented. The design of dashboards should take into consideration the needs of the target audience and determine, from the outset, the best way to present the data, either on a desktop or a mobile device. A simple and naturalistic design enhances the overall user experience and leads to a better understanding of the displayed information.

Creating dashboards is an art. It is not just displaying some charts together after linking them with data. The main idea of the dashboard is to help the targeted users get as much information as they can from the presented figures. A clear, easy to understand dashboard design is key. I cover the best practices for creating informative desktop and mobile-device dashboards using SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (formerly known as Xcelsius). First, however, I provide you with an overview of the salient differences between the two types of dashboards: desktop and mobile-device dashboards.

The Difference Between Desktop and Mobile-Device Dashboards

You can use SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards to create desktop or mobile-device dashboards. You need to determine at the outset of the dashboard design process which device is to be targeted—mobile or desktop. This is very important because the differences between desktop and smart devices are stark. Desktop devices are powerful and capable of displaying rich dashboard content with stunning visual presentation, while, on the other hand, smart devices have a limited memory and resources. For this reason, you need to be aware of these differences when designing a mobile dashboard for smart devices. You need to make sure that the information for the mobile device is displayed in a simple and clear way, and that it can be accessed as well.

In addition, the targeted users for desktop and mobile dashboards are different. You can use a desktop dashboard to display many key performance indicators (KPIs), charts, and metrics, but when information is displayed on a mobile device, it may need to be limited and focus only on the most important and critical ones due to space (screen) constraints. However, some users need to be able track and monitor the critical KPIs on the go using smart devices, so the decision about which information to gather and how it’s displayed is a critical one to make at the outset.

You also need be cognizant of dashboard size. For example, you don’t want to make it so large that it cannot be loaded on a mobile device because it requires too much memory or takes too long to load. A common problem with designers is that they use large images, icons, logos, and backgrounds, all of which increase the size of the dashboard. Response time is another key factor to consider when designing mobile dashboards. You need to track the query’s performance and the size of the data transferred across the network to make sure that you are not overloading it, which results in slow response time and performance issues.

Taha M. Mahmoud

Taha M. Mahmoud is a PMP, TOGAF, ITIL, and CSM, and a senior BI consultant, BI project manager, and solution architect. He has more than seven years of experience consulting and deploying successful BusinessObjects projects in the banking and telecom industries. Taha is the author of the book, Creating Universes with SAP BusinessObjects.

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