Regular and occasional usage

The usage of dashboards can be a routine regular procedure, or a more rare one — from time to time. It defines the approach to dashboard organization and design.

Regular usage means that the user observes the dashboard constantly, to track the changes and new events. It is very similar to observe the dashboard of the car or aircraft, or to take a look at mnemonics on the videowall of factory or power-plant.

Occasional usage can be event-driven or done at some irregular and long time intervals — like the manager checks the KPIs once per week, or the operator jumps to the dashboard of some service systems if there are some tasks to proceed with.

The difference between these scenarios leads to the difference between layouts and visual style. In the first case, we may suppose a strong knowledge about entities of the dashboard and their locations on the screen — so the primary goal is to make all auxiliary elements (like labels, headings, dividers) as less emphasized as possible. In the second case, we should make the descriptive and helper elements more emphasized, to give the user extra context and explanations about dashboard features.

For the same reasons, dashboards for regular usage may have much higher informational density compared to the occasionally used dashboards.

Another aspect is that we cannot expect that the operators will remember the values of displayed parameters and state of indicators during occasional usages. So the values themselves should have more emphasis compared to regular cases, where it can be better to emphasize the trends and changes.

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