A few weeks ago I mentioned in this blog that I would soon announce the 2012 Perceptual Edge Dashboard Design Competition. Today, the competition officially begins. This will be the most challenging event of this type to date resulting in the most esteemed award for dashboard design (in my not-so-humble opinion) since I judged a similar competition for the B-Eye-Network back in 2006. This competition will serve several purposes:
- A showcase for the current state of expert dashboard design.
- An opportunity for me to use the submissions to teach best practices by critiquing several of them on this website and in the second edition of the book Information Dashboard Design, which I am currently writing.
- An opportunity to provide sample dashboard designs that could actually be used to improve the quality of education in schools, for this competition involves the design of a dashboard that could be used by teachers to monitor the performance of their students.
The winning dashboard will be featured in Information Dashboard Design, Second Edition, due out during the first half of 2013, and in an article in the Visual Business Intelligence Newsletter. No, you won’t win $10,000 or an all-expenses-paid vacation to the Bahamas. Instead, you will have an opportunity to advance the information age by showing a better way to display data for performance monitoring. In other words, you will have a chance to do something useful for the world.
Here are the basic facts:
- The deadline for submissions is September 28, 2012.
- Submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Multiple entries from an individual are allowed.
- Submissions will be judged by me—Stephen Few—with the assistance of two subject matter experts in student performance monitoring. The identities of the competitors will be hidden from me until after the winners have been selected.
- Anyone may enter the competition, including employees of vendors that sell dashboard software.
- You may use any software that you wish to design this dashboard. In fact, you are welcome to design a dashboard using drawing software if you’d like, such as Adobe Illustrator, which would free you from the constraints of a particular dashboard tool. The purpose of this competition is to assess your dashboard design skills, not the merits of a particular tool.
- The student performance data that will be used is provided in an Excel file, which you may download be clicking here. The file contains behavior, aptitude, and achievement information for students in a single high school mathematics class.
- By submitting a dashboard to the competition you are granting me the right to include it my courses and publications.
- The winner will be chosen based on one fundamental criterion: the degree to which the dashboard could be used by a teacher to rapidly and effectively monitor the performance of her students for the purpose of helping them improve their mathematics skills.
All other information that you’ll need to participate in the competition is included in the Excel file mentioned above.
I encourage you to enter the competition and to take it seriously. The world needs better ways of monitoring information, and you can help by applying your skills to this task. Whether you win the competition or not might matter to you, but it isn’t the only thing that matters. Either way, you will learn a great deal through the process.