Social media dashboard design notes

With Easter out the way and with a project concerning social media dashboard design on the horizon I thought it might be good to look at what blogs and resources are devoted to social media dashboard design.

To be honest I have been involved in dashboard design once before at least, in the NHS the remote IT consultant came up with a nice task dashboard to manage issues and bugs. And I even won an award for a community management dashboard designed for the SiftGroups Drupal ‘backend’, though again the design was more the work of the IT developer than a result of my input.

In that case what was interesting was ensuring the dashboard gave the community manager data which helped them to do their job. Now that sounds obvious (see note below on the ‘obvious’) but with so much data available, and with a techie doing the designing, half the challenge is making sure you get something that’s going to help you do your job. Such issues are commonplace though; for example I recall recently a community manager complaining that Yammer does not come with an automatic notification facility, so you need to keep returning to the dashboard to check if there’s been any activity, relevant or not.

But what I am talking about here is specifically data around social media analytics, to pull both external (eg Radian6) and internal (multiple office sites) into one place to help guide the business. So here goes:

  • Keep it simple stupid – different people have different levels of understanding, so design for maximum effect by keeping it simple.
  • Blinkety, blink – dashboard designed so we can tell the difference between a metric that can sometimes be ignored and when it is alerting us to a critical opportunity or threat.
  • Master of the Universe – data should put social media performance in wider marklet context, to provide competitor comparison for example.
  • Overall the dashboard should help us improve our ‘field sense‘ – how to play the game, no just describe activity.

  • And from data guru Dr Michael Wu: Good Data Science Practice: Know the Limit of Your Data –  “After all, what good is analytics if all it does is give you the “illusion” of confidence?” – including checking for systematic bias.
  • Plus my special bonus point – don’t forget the obvious. Sometimes looking for valuable social media data means missing what’s starting you in the face. Just like helping a friend who calls you with a defunct computer, it’s usually due to a loose power cable…

Comparing US patent search engines

I quickly put together this short animoto-video showing the beta Google Patents, US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and new Xyggy patent search engines, entry page followed by advanced search page. How do they compare in your view, focusing on US granted patents from 1976 onwards?

You should notice a difference with the Xyggy engine. Why? It runs an item search which it claims provides substantial advantages and additional information over text search.  Also, the makers say that with multiple items in the query, Xyggy discovers what they have in common to return better results.