135  |  The "Dashboard Conspiracy" with Lyn Bartram and Alper Sarikaya


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Oh dashboards… dashboards… what are they? For some, they are just ugly examples of bad visualization design (speed dials anyone?). For others, they are a first citizen of the data visualization world that deserve to be learned, studied, and understood.

To dig into this debate, we have Lyn Bartram of Simon Fraser University and Alper Sarikaya of Microsoft Power BI on the show to talk about an exciting research project they developed. Their research seeks to build a better picture of what dashboard are and how they are used “in the wild.” The results are summarized in a paper they wrote with their colleagues from Tableau and Honeycomb.io: What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Dashboards?

On the show we talk about how the project got started, what they discovered by analyzing a large corpus of dashboards, and the many ramifications of their research.

Enjoy the show!


  • Project page
  • Supplemental material with images of all the dashboards the team analyzed (zip)

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1. Welcome to Data Stories! (00:00:29)

2. Data Stories is ad-free thanks to the support of our listeners; please consider making a contribution (00:01:05)

3. Today's topic: The Dashboard conspiracy! (00:01:52)

5. Introducing Alper Sarikaya (00:03:57)

6. How got this project started? (00:04:57)

7. What were your initial intuitions about dashboards and how have they changed? (00:07:28)

8. What's a dashboard used for besides monitoring? (00:12:08)

9. Why does the word "dashboard" have such a negative connotation in dataviz? (00:13:39)

10. What methodology did you follow? (00:19:20)

11. The social role of dashboards (00:26:21)

12. Dashboards and interaction (00:28:50)

13. Cultural differences in using dashboards (00:34:29)

14. How can practitioners improve their dashboards? (00:36:42)

15. Get in touch with us and support us on Patreon (00:43:32)

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