We recently launched a successful web-based BI application for one of our clients. It’s a very complex application consisting of reports and dashboards covering subject areas spanning various business units of the organization. It was challenging to organize the content in a way that’s easy to navigate and self-explanatory at the same time. We decided to use a landing page to make it easier for the end user to get to the required dashboard in just a couple of clicks ultimately resulting in improved user adoption. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the thinking behind the landing page design. The diagram given below is used for illustrating these points. Letters on the diagram illustrate a corresponding section of the blog:
A. Structure and Organization
Organize the content on the landing page based on functions like operations, finance, HR. It could also be arranged based on the regions or different lines of business (products). Generally it’s a good idea to arrange it based on how the business units in the organization are structured.
Treat the landing page as any other dashboard. Use multiple sections to divide and convey different information. Each section can serve a different purpose or function. For example, the bottom section (footer) can contain links to any external pages.
Use colors and fonts that are consistent with other dashboards and reports in the application to give the same look-and-feel to the landing page.
Denote each functional area or dashboard by a meaningful icon or an image. For example, a financial dashboard can be denoted with an image of a bar chart or a line graph while an inventory dashboard can be denoted by an image of a warehouse. Use these icons consistently throughout the application. This will help users to identify different dashboards and functions and make the navigation easier.
C. User Security and Personalization
Take user security and different access levels into account while designing the landing page. User security for the landing page should fit into the overall user security architecture of the application. Through a combination of options like conditional formatting, filters and system variables, user security can be designed to provide required access.
Personalize the landing page for users. Add the name of the user logged in along with a greeting message based on date and time of the user’s login. Highlight the important dashboards for the users based on their role. For example, a KPI dashboard may be the starting point for the top management, but the operations manager probably would like to start with the operations dashboard.
D. Notifications and Feedback
Engage your audience by using the landing page for notifications and feedback. End users can be notified about the new feature added to the application or about the upcoming application maintenance. This allows admins or application owners to keep their end users up-to-date with the progress of the BI project/application. End users can also provide feedback about the application or additional features they would like to see in the future.
Provide a link to the application/project wiki page on your landing page. A wiki page can be used to provide additional information about the application navigation, details about a particular report or a dashboard.
These are few simple points to consider while designing a landing page for your BI application.These simple tricks help simplifying the application navigation and can also help in driving user adoption.