Most dashboard products feature a lot of silly display widgets but lack the basic flexibility required to design dashboards that communicate effectively. They equip you with gauges that make you feel like you’re behind the controls of an antique steam locomotive or playing a video game, but cannot position and size charts as needed or even do things as simple as position the title of a graph’s Y-axis where you want it. So far, I have found very few dashboard products that have the flexibility that is required to support the visual design principles that I teach, but today I can gladly add one more to the list. Corda Technologies offers a dashboard product called CenterView, which is much like other popular products in that it exhibits a wide range of silly widgets and ineffective features, such as 3-D charts, but the silly stuff can be ignored or turned off, and their development environment provides the power and flexibility to produce well designed dashboards.
How do I know this? No, I haven’t spent the last few days learning the product to see what it can do. The folks at Corda did this for me. After a recent product briefing, I invited them to demonstrate the effectiveness of CenterView by doing their best to duplicate one of my own dashboard designs that is featured in my book Information Dashboard Design. I gave them an Excel spreadsheet that contained the data along with a picture of the dashboard, and then waited with great anticipation to see what they could do. I am pleased to announce that they were able to produce a dashboard that is virtually identical to mine, including bullet graphs and sparklines. You are welcome to view their successful dashboard design for yourself.
Corda now joins the select group of vendors who can produce dashboards that communicate effectively, including SAS, BonaVista Systems (makers of an Excel add-in called MicroCharts), and Visual Engineering (makers of VisualAcuity). If there are any other vendors out there who would like to join these ranks, I’d be happy to give you the same challenge that I gave Corda, and more than happy to welcome another vendor to this elite group if you succeed.