In our previous blog we discussed how to migrate an existing Xcelsius dashboard to SAP Design Studio. While we achieved functional compatibility and it looked great on the desktop, the design was not really optimized for a mobile device.

With tools like Design Studio, you have the power to leverage both desktops and tablets as delivery device of choice. But with this flexibility comes a tradeoff, as a design optimized for one type of device is usually not optimized for the other. For now, we’ll review a design that breaks the monotony of traditional dashboards and delivers something that is highly usable on tablets.

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Take a look at the following Gas Utility KPI dashboard that was built using SAP Dashboards (Xcelsius).

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A sample dashboard built using SAP Dashboards / Xcelsius

While porting the dashboard on to an ipad, one option is to leave the UI design as-is and recreate the elements in SAP Design Studio (or just publish it on to SAP Mobile BI – assuming you are using SAP Dashboards 4.0 SP5 or above). But the same design on the mobile interface does not score high on usability.

We often hold tablets using both hands – freeing up the thumbs in the process. Now wouldn’t it be cool just to use the thumbs for selection in this case? How about the following design?

sap-design-studio-2-gas-utility-dashboard

Sample dashboard migrated to SAP Design Studio

One set of selectors is on the bottom left, and another on the bottom right. Yes, the storyboard is now a bit different with just three (3) charts instead of four (4) in the original. Moreover, for someone used to viewing traditional dashboards, the look and feel may also appear compromised.

However, it was a delight to experience this layout in action. One feedback was that this felt like operating a “joystick”, and something that is natural for the device. Note that this is only one design option, and there are other mobile-optimized designs that you must still consider. For example, if you expect the user to perform drilldowns using charts more often than filter content using selectors, your layout may need to change.

For enterprises looking at driving executive adoption of BI, such design principles and usability best practices hold the key for long-term success. As the initial excitement fades and as mobile dashboards and applications become mainstream, things would boil down (as they have always been) to usability, intuitive design and performance. When that happens, would your dashboards have withstood the test of time successfully?

Additional tabs from the SAP Design Studio application are shown below.

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