Think of a data dashboard as a bird’s-eye view of data that gets automatically updated in real-time. It’s like a news app meant only for internal use, and the ultimate goal is to make repeat reporting processes more efficient. Aaron Bycoffe of The Huffington Post and Derek Williams and Jacob Harris of The New York Times explained this on Saturday.
Dashboards work best when reporters and developers collaborate to determine the information that would be most useful to display. And they’re flexible: If things change, you can always go back and add new fields or take others away.
Notification systems can be built into dashboards to further extend their efficiency. In an ideal world, reporters will be monitoring dashboards of their own volition, but they can sign up to get alerts when new data is available — a helpful backstop to distraction.
To determine if a data set would be a good candidate for a dashboard, consider these characteristics:
Like many reporting tools, it turns out that dashboards meant for internal use can be of use for your audience, too. Many great, public-facing applications started out as dashboards. The session tipsheet has more tips for how you can get started, building dashboards either for yourself or your newsroom — or eventually your community.
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