Monthly Archives: September 2009

Designing Great Dashboards

Juice Analytics has published a 3 part book called “A Guide to Creating Dashboards People Love to Use“. To register to receive a copy, visit Juice Analytics and sign up.

To quote an introductory paragraph from the document:

This document will approach dashboard design in a holistic way, beginning with general goals and evolving to specific data presentation. Part 1: Foundation will help you identify your target audience, understand what type of dashboard you want to create and why it is valuable to your organization. It concludes with guidance regarding how to focus your message on the information and metrics that matter. Part 2: Structure will get you started on designing your dashboard, including what form it should take, how to arrange for audience understanding, and what navigation, interactions, and capabilities will make the dashboard useful and engaging. Finally, Part 3: Information Design dives into the details of interface and information design. You will learn how to lay out your dashboard and best practices for charting and data presentation.

Parts 1 and 2 are now available – part 3 is not far away…..

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Google search snippets

Google has announced that they will now be making use of anchor tags and section headings in their search snippets, displaying them where it makes sense in their search results.

For most search results, Google shows you a few lines of text to give you an idea of what the page is about — we call this a “search snippet.” Recently, we’ve enhanced the search snippet with two new features that make it easier to find information buried deep within a page.

Normally, a search snippet shows how a page, as a whole, relates to a your query by excerpting content that appears near and around where your query terms show on the page. But what if only one section of the page is relevant to your search?

That’s where these new features can help, by providing links within the snippet to relevant sections of the page, making it faster and easier to find what you’re looking for.

To make this happen you need to ensure:

1. you use descriptive headings for your sections, especially in long multi-topic html documents. Use for example, Victorian Government web 2.0 initiatives, NOT Section 1.3.

2. you use a table of contents at the top of the page which uses anchor text to link to your section headings.

3. you don’t forget the anchor text for your section headings.

A Search Engine Land article by Barry Schwartz shows examples of how descriptive headings can be used in search snippets.

More reasons to use appropriate keywords that your searchers are using in the text of your documents, rather than bureaucratic policy speak.

Enjoy!