What’s on your Dashboard, er… Overview?

I’m talking about your application’s front page. What we currently call an Overview page. We’ve seen some wonderful customizations to these pages to turn them into true application dashboards that include key views, links to specific tasks, and documentation on how to use the app. For our next release, we’re making it easier to create and modify these pages and to add your own rich HTML content.

For those of you who’ve already customized your overview page to make it the centerpeice of your application, I’m curious what you’ve put on there.  What’s the key info you want your end users to see when they arrive at that page? What are the top two or three links you have (or would like to have) front and center?

Also, we’re planning to change the name of "Overview" pages within the product to "Dashboards." We think this will better convey their purpose, especially the direction we’re headed with them. Although "dashboard" sounds a little more "business-speak" than I’d like, the term seems to have gained some currency.  What do you think?

BTW, this name change will only be visible to application administrators. End-users will continue to just see the page’s heading which you can change by clicking on the "Customize this Page" link.

  • David Renton

    This will be great. Will this remove the 3 section limit that we currently have?

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  • David Renton

    This will be great. Will this remove the 3 section limit that we currently have?

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  • james lacorte

    I would love to see the ability to add more then 3 items/postings to a dashboard page.

    I use it to on a role basis, and provide quick links to views / reports I want them to see.

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  • Jim Salem

    Yes. You can now have up to 6 sections. However, there will still be a maximum of 3 views which can be displayed.

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  • james lacorte

    I would love to see the ability to add more then 3 items/postings to a dashboard page.

    I use it to on a role basis, and provide quick links to views / reports I want them to see.

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  • Jim Salem

    Yes. You can now have up to 6 sections. However, there will still be a maximum of 3 views which can be displayed.

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  • james lacorte

    I also use the dashboard as an announcemenr area. Problem is if I setup a dashboard for 6 roles, I have to edit my announcement 6 times.

    What would be really cool is the ability to have a txt/html posting shared across many dashboards.
    This way when content has to change and it effects all roles. I can do it quickly in 1 place.

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  • james lacorte

    I also use the dashboard as an announcemenr area. Problem is if I setup a dashboard for 6 roles, I have to edit my announcement 6 times.

    What would be really cool is the ability to have a txt/html posting shared across many dashboards.
    This way when content has to change and it effects all roles. I can do it quickly in 1 place.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.quickbase.com/ Jana Eggers

    James, that’s a great point. Jim likely has thought about it, but I hadn’t. Reuse on items like announcements is great. Can you give us an idea of what type of announcements you typically make?

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  • http://www.quickbase.com Jana Eggers

    James, that’s a great point. Jim likely has thought about it, but I hadn’t. Reuse on items like announcements is great. Can you give us an idea of what type of announcements you typically make?

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  • james lacorte

    Example of announcements that would appear on each roles dashboard page would be:
    _Alert of a new field or view
    _Alert that now a current field is required
    _If major changes were made provide an msg and link to details of the changes>
    _New or updated training materials
    _Announcements important to the whole team that may affect how the application is used for a short time (don’t sched> any work for a certain week because>>>)

    I send emails also but the announcement on their dashboard is more effective sine they are in there all the time> no excuse to not see it :)

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  • james lacorte

    Example of announcements that would appear on each roles dashboard page would be:
    _Alert of a new field or view
    _Alert that now a current field is required
    _If major changes were made provide an msg and link to details of the changes>
    _New or updated training materials
    _Announcements important to the whole team that may affect how the application is used for a short time (don’t sched> any work for a certain week because>>>)

    I send emails also but the announcement on their dashboard is more effective sine they are in there all the time> no excuse to not see it :)

    [Reply]

  • Jim Salem

    An easy way to have a shared announcement is to add the standard “info” section to each dashboard. Then, by changing the app’s description, all of the dashboard’s would be updated with the new message.

    A fancier approach would be to add a table of announcements to your app and create a “List Changes” view of that table in each dashboard. Then your users would be able to see all of the outstanding announcements. In another section of your dashboard, you could add a button or link to the “Clear Flags” command to make it easy for users to clear the list of announcements that they’ve already seen.

    Messaging/alerting features on a per-application basis (or a per-team basis) is something we often consider. While enhancing this capability isn’t on our immediate plans, look for us to add more features in this area over time.

    [Reply]

  • Jim Salem

    An easy way to have a shared announcement is to add the standard “info” section to each dashboard. Then, by changing the app’s description, all of the dashboard’s would be updated with the new message.

    A fancier approach would be to add a table of announcements to your app and create a “List Changes” view of that table in each dashboard. Then your users would be able to see all of the outstanding announcements. In another section of your dashboard, you could add a button or link to the “Clear Flags” command to make it easy for users to clear the list of announcements that they’ve already seen.

    Messaging/alerting features on a per-application basis (or a per-team basis) is something we often consider. While enhancing this capability isn’t on our immediate plans, look for us to add more features in this area over time.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/4246560 Larry Cohn

    We use a a “welcome messages” table with a view that is role based to display welcome messages for specific roles. We also have links to application instructions, new features, etc. We often have a link to download iespell – a free spell-checker plugin for Internet Explorer or show a small javascript calendar.

    It would be great if we could use other types of views on the dashboard – especially charts. These provide an easy way to convey a lot of information using a small amount of space.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/4246560 Larry Cohn

    We use a a “welcome messages” table with a view that is role based to display welcome messages for specific roles. We also have links to application instructions, new features, etc. We often have a link to download iespell – a free spell-checker plugin for Internet Explorer or show a small javascript calendar.

    It would be great if we could use other types of views on the dashboard – especially charts. These provide an easy way to convey a lot of information using a small amount of space.

    [Reply]

  • Kristina

    If Dashboard views could be e-mailed or printed as one view that would really be helful!

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  • Kristina

    If Dashboard views could be e-mailed or printed as one view that would really be helful!

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  • Kristina

    We use the Overviews as the agenda for weekly customer meetings. We display “Past Due Tasks” and “Upcoming Tasks” (as well as a statement about determining go live readiness). The Overview is a nice way to break down a large project into easy to handle pieces.

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  • Kristina

    We use the Overviews as the agenda for weekly customer meetings. We display “Past Due Tasks” and “Upcoming Tasks” (as well as a statement about determining go live readiness). The Overview is a nice way to break down a large project into easy to handle pieces.

    [Reply]

  • Jim Salem

    It’s great to hear how you’re using QuickBase.

    Larry:
    1) You should already be able to include charts on your dashboard/overview. (I think you may be recalling that limitation from quite some time ago.)
    2) iespell is a great adjunct to QuickBase.

    Kristina:
    E-mailing multiple views is a good idea and is something that the QuickBase team has discussed. I hadn’t really thought about it in terms of emailing a dashboard, though I can see some advantage to including arbitrary text as well as the views themselves. Though it’s not in our immediate future, solving this need is on our radar screen.

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  • Jim Salem

    It’s great to hear how you’re using QuickBase.

    Larry:
    1) You should already be able to include charts on your dashboard/overview. (I think you may be recalling that limitation from quite some time ago.)
    2) iespell is a great adjunct to QuickBase.

    Kristina:
    E-mailing multiple views is a good idea and is something that the QuickBase team has discussed. I hadn’t really thought about it in terms of emailing a dashboard, though I can see some advantage to including arbitrary text as well as the views themselves. Though it’s not in our immediate future, solving this need is on our radar screen.

    [Reply]

  • Melody

    We use Quickbase to manage capital project spending, consolidation, reporting, & forecasting for multiple business units. Currently, I have 2 overview pages set up … the one for Executive Managers shows a summary view by business unit of projects with activity in the current year (project budgets, spending to date, & remaining budget) and a view of cash flows by business unit (spending prior to current year, current year actual spending, forecasted remainder of year, and forecasted subsequent year). The one for Business Unit Managers shows a view of all projects that are overbudget requiring addendums and a view of projects that are past the estimated completion date … projects shown in these views have high priority. Both overview pages recaps our list of signoff approvals based on dollars and link to a HTML page that discusses company policy and allows users to download the latest Capital Request Package.

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  • Melody

    We use Quickbase to manage capital project spending, consolidation, reporting, & forecasting for multiple business units. Currently, I have 2 overview pages set up … the one for Executive Managers shows a summary view by business unit of projects with activity in the current year (project budgets, spending to date, & remaining budget) and a view of cash flows by business unit (spending prior to current year, current year actual spending, forecasted remainder of year, and forecasted subsequent year). The one for Business Unit Managers shows a view of all projects that are overbudget requiring addendums and a view of projects that are past the estimated completion date … projects shown in these views have high priority. Both overview pages recaps our list of signoff approvals based on dollars and link to a HTML page that discusses company policy and allows users to download the latest Capital Request Package.

    [Reply]

  • http://creativebusinesssolutions.biz/bcbsnc/doc1.doc James LaCorte

    Earlier I mentioneda enhancement to allow a posting to beused across many dashboards.
    See the screenshot for an example. The top item is what we use for links and announcements.
    It would be nice to update once and all roles have it displayed, while the rest of the page would be according to their specific role

    creativebusinesssolutions.biz/bcbsnc/doc1.doc

    [Reply]

  • http://creativebusinesssolutions.biz/bcbsnc/doc1.doc James LaCorte

    Earlier I mentioneda enhancement to allow a posting to beused across many dashboards.
    See the screenshot for an example. The top item is what we use for links and announcements.
    It would be nice to update once and all roles have it displayed, while the rest of the page would be according to their specific role

    creativebusinesssolutions.biz/bcbsnc/doc1.doc

    [Reply]

  • Jim Salem

    Melody: Awesome use of overview pages. I like the diversity of information you’ve put there, blending user-specific views and links to documentation.

    James: I see how this would save you time. We’ll keep this idea in mind for a future release. The challenge for us is to keep the dashboard editor simple to use while allowing the additional customization.

    [Reply]

  • Jim Salem

    Melody: Awesome use of overview pages. I like the diversity of information you’ve put there, blending user-specific views and links to documentation.

    James: I see how this would save you time. We’ll keep this idea in mind for a future release. The challenge for us is to keep the dashboard editor simple to use while allowing the additional customization.

    [Reply]