3 Considerations for Mobile Dashboards

BI Theory, Dashboard Design, Mobile BI No Comments

I was just reading an interesting article on Harvard Business Review called The Future Isn’t About Mobile, It’s About Mobility. It prompted me to remind you that if you are designing dashboards not to fall into the trap of just replicating desktop dashboard for mobile. Users of mobile dashboards are experiencing the dashboard in quite different environments, and I am not just referring to the small device screen. It’s not about making desktop dashboards mobile – it is about understanding the specific needs of users during mobility.

Here are my top 4 considerations when designing mobile dashboards:

  1. Lighting conditions – vary considerably and this can be especially difficult for those starting to feel the effect of aging eyes, where the range of light in which they have clear visibility is far narrower than for someone without presbyopia. Design dashboard backgrounds and fonts for fast reading. This is often completely opposite to what one considers ideal design for desktop dashboards. Viewing white letters on a black background is often easier in bright light, than black letters of a white background – but in desktop we use the exact opposite. Subtle colors get washed out in bright lights – but are ideal for desktop etc
  2. Time constraints – often users have just a moment to quickly glance at a dashboard – they don’t have time to dig down three levels to get to the combination of information they need. I read recently [I would credit the source if i could remember] a great description of the difference between mobile and desktop dashboards where mobile dashboards are for leaning out [just glancing], whereas desktop dashboards are for leaning in for analysis
  3. Security – think carefully about storing data locally on mobile devices. If you remember the above, that mobile dashboards are not a lean-in activity, there is little reason for cached data. Doing so creates a security risk worthy of close consideration.

That’s it for me – there are many other considerations, but the main one is to not be tempted to just replicate the desktop to the mobile. As the HBR article says, its not about mobile, it’s about mobility.

Great Story for Mobile BI

Mobile BI No Comments

Wanted to share this great video on mobile BI – it is a quick 2 minute reminder of the essence of mobile BI – and I just love seeing someone draw freehand with level of skill


Key Reminders

  • Make users curious with new information on new devices
  • Mobile communications are only suited for companies that have 100% correct information every day
  • Need the right content for the device – and it still needs to be in context and from the right perspective for the user
  • A small screen is no excuse for not telling the best story
  • If your are going to provide interactivity through mobile devices, you need good security

Mobile Making is Mark in Retail

Mobile BI No Comments

Mobile marketing and mobile POS is nothing new – what is new is the growing support by retail organizations to use mobile as a commercial and operational tool across a broad range of functions. A recent survey of retailers by research firm Aberdeen found that “while 13% of retailers are using mobile as an enterprise-wide commerce and operational tool, 63% of retailers plan to use mobile as an enterprise-wide tool for commerce and operations in the next two years”.

One of the key drivers appears to be the wide availability of tablets – making access to POS, stock locations, promotions, product information and a range of other retail operations anywhere in the store.

The back room is also experiencing an increase in use of mobile devices with activities such as customer support for cross-channel customer orders, access to in-store information, merchandise buying, procurement, inventory management, and marketing.

MicroStrategy Mobile for iPhone and iPad.

Microstrategy, Mobile BI No Comments

The use of BI on mobile expands the value and usability of hefty investment in business intelligence.  Mobile BI empowers executives, workforce, suppliers, and business partners with actionable information anywhere, anytime. This has proven to reduce decision-making time, streamlines business processes and enhance collaboration.

With the more recent powerful ap-phones and tablets that support GPS and large  touch screens, it is now easier than ever to query vast volumes of data quickly and precisely. The previous limitations of “small screen devices” and low processing power have been largely overcome. Enterprise reports and BI dashboards are now readily available to the iPhone and iPad – and such technologies will rapidly expand the business intelligence market.

MicroStrategy Mobile is a logical extension of business intelligence and is engineered to support higher demand for improved speed and scalability of mobile BI applications. Microstrategy claims implementation takes only a few days, with applications assembled in a point-and-click fashion and no coding required. iPhone and iPad-optimized displays and controls are readily deployable across multiple applications.

MicroStrategy Mobile infrastructure supports new mobile app, leaving application developers to focus on creating the user experience.  Using a metadata-driven design approach enables rapid, point-and-click portability of reports between platforms, including iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, web browsers, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Windows.

For more on Microstrategy Business Intelligence

Microstrategy Launches BI on Kindle

Mobile BI No Comments

Whilst on the topic of Business Intelligence on Mobile – most BI Vendors are in the process of rolling out capability for small screen devices.

Recently, BI software vendor MicroStrategy announced that it will provide its business reports and dashboards on Amazon’s Kindle DX reader. Kindle is a simple platform for downloading and reading books provided by Amazon and other subscription content such as newspapers. Since it’s launch, software developers have been quick to look at what applications are viable on this platform.

Since Kindle is easy to use, easy to read and built on 3G connectivity, it makes sense as a delivery platform for business intelligence data.

Microstrategy already has an iPhone app to allow mobile access to reports and the dashboard, so Kindle is another step along the convergence chain between mobile and business intelligence. When BI becomes more accessible, it will become more acceptable. Since Kindle has significantly more power than most smartphones, hopefully Kindle BI is another push along the path to accessible BI.

Read Microstrategies Press Release

I expect to see many more business intelligence applications to appear on mobile devices in the very near future – so keep watch at this blog or follow me on Twitter.

Augmented Reality BI Goes Mobile

BI Solutions, Mobile BI No Comments

the future of mobile business intelligence the future of mobile business intelligence.

A Dutch startup called Layar has launched a mobile augmented reality for Android-based phones. The phone uses its own internal GPS and internal compass. Using the phone’s camera, the user chooses a ‘layar’ of information [house prices, local jobs, nightclubs, etc.], point it anywhere you like, and it shows you information about whatever you are looking at.

The possibilities for consumer BI are evident, but it may also be valuable in the corporate environment when combined with other services such as RoamBI.

On a small window and augmented reality browswer adds clarity to the information by placing it in a visual context. In this instance, it is information on buying a house. The software on the phone works in the same way as the software that identifies what music is playing when you are out at a club. By using your video function to view the houses around you, the screen will highlight those properties currently for sale and provide you with the key data. Users can set their own ‘purchase profiles’ in terms of price range etc to help filter out unwanted properties. And with a one touch call to the realtor, you are more than one step ahead of competing purchasers.

For more on Augmented Reality.