This is an Eval Central archive copy, find the original at freshspectrum.com.
Does a data dashboard really have to support decision making to be useful?
In the video I mention my workshop, if you’re interested, check it out here > diydatadesign.com.
?So I teach a data design virtual workshop. It’s called DIY data design. And each week we get together and have conversations. So I’ll give a little presentation and then we’ll just chat about stuff. The last week we were talking about data dashboards. And one of the things that came up, it was interesting.
It was one of the participants was talking about how she has access to a set of dashboards. And she looks at them they’re about libraries and books and. Mostly because she’s interested. Not because she has any particular need for that data. Just because she’s interested and they have the data.
And when we were talking a little bit more. This idea came out about data dashboard FOMO. And. How sometimes. We need dashboards or we want dashboards, not because there’s any particular decision-making need. Just because we have this fear of missing out on data that we don’t know exist. And so you end up with this large, huge dashboard of like tons and tons of pages.
And he asked the question like why does anybody want to use this? What are they going to use this for? And the more I thought about it, the more I could see a counterpoint to that, the idea that. That there needs to be a use. So here’s a, here’s like a little story. So you have a person.
And they go, can I see the data? And they come up to the data person. And the data person says why. Now there might be all sorts of reasons why the data person is wondering why maybe they want to set up the dashboard in a way. That it could help facilitate decision-making. And, the person’s just like sheepishly just, interested.
And I think this happens often actually. Or maybe if, an organization is data savvy or you have people who are interested in understanding some of the data. That there is a world of data. Inside of organizations. That we don’t really know what exists. you don’t know what you don’t know. And for a lot of people, the way that they have to go and find that data is to go to a middleman. Somebody who knows enough about the data who has access, who can get the right information.
And they control the access point. And. It ends up becoming like a sort of gatekeeper. Even if unintentionally. I think there are two reasons that you might want to create that data dashboards. You don’t want is to use support decision-making so this is the idea that, okay, this is actionable data.
There is a very Clear reason. Why we have this data, why we’re sharing this data? Why this date is going from one place to the other. So the person can learn and make decisions about their work. This is the data as decision-making. Everybody can agree on, but there’s this other part that.
Dashboard is really. An access tool. It’s about taking something that is inaccessible. Because people don’t have the access rights or the skill or. The time to find a way to get to that data. So it becomes like this mysterious thing. And honestly, This person, the person that says why. They don’t know what. Necessarily might be interesting to know. And sometimes you just need to create a dashboard. You just need to create an interface. So that people who are interested. In an organization can find data that is available. And make their own decisions as to why they might want to see it.
And perhaps just following an interest. Perhaps, they just have some data dashboard FOMO. Yeah, that’s it for today? Hope you’re having a great week. We’ll talk soon. Alright, bye.