InetSoft Webinar: How Visualization Technology Makes Dashboards Better than Reports

This is the continuation of the transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft on the topic of "Building a Winning Dashboard" The speaker is Abhishek Gupta, sales engineer at InetSoft.

Some of you may have noticed that dip in the European sales in the month of August, prompts that the company's European customers were off on vacation at that time and may be its just an error in the data, but overall the U.S. sales increased while Europe largely remained flat. Now, the really interesting pattern here is what was very easy to miss with the report is that the U.S. sales seems to go up and down.

This is a great illustration of how visualization technology makes dashboards better than reports. If you look at it closer, you can see it's going up by the end of the quarter, and then it goes down in the beginning of the next quarter. Up again, down, up again, down, this is a very well known pattern in sales. It's called the hockey-stick pattern.

It's because of the shape of course, and the reason for this is often because sales people are driven to meet quarterly sales targets, so the work often intensifies at that time. So, this is a very good example of recognizing a pattern with visual technology abilities. I cannot find this pattern when I am looking at numbers that I need to store in my brain.

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View live interactive examples in InetSoft's dashboard and visualization gallery.

Here our visual perception actually would fail. Basically our eyes are sensitive to different stimuli, and those then pass onto our brain, and that shapes our perception. Mostly it is those stimuli that remain within our chronic memory. Only then it is followed by short-term memory and lastly by long-term memory. So really it is those stimuli that can drive the difference in how well we are remembering and shape our perception.

Here's another example to prove it. What I am going to do here is I am actually going to use the poll. So I am going to show you a question, and the question will show up on your screen for about 10 seconds and afterwards I will bring up a different option, and you will just have to choose the right option. So be ready with your mouse.

I am going to give you 10 seconds. Okay, so here is the question, 10 seconds starting from now. How many fours are there in this data set? Okay. So I am going to launch the poll, and I am going to let you answer it. I am going to give you a few more seconds to answer it, and we are going to close this poll, and I am going to share with you the results.

So what you can see here is a pretty distributed count. You can see almost every option had some responses. 12, not so many, but there are definitely lot of people would think that it is either 8, 9, 10, or 11 with a slight increase on the 10 and 11. The values may be 9 as well and/or with 10. Now I am going to ask the same question again. I am going to make a small change in the way I am presenting the question to you.

So again, I am going to give you 10 seconds, and then I am going to ask that question again. Okay, so now how many fours are there? Okay, excellent, let me show you the results again. So, now you can see 94% of people think that the count of 40s is 10, which is the actual correct answer, versus only 40% when I showed you the question originally.

That is a great example for the impact of what we call stimuli that I mentioned earlier. In this case, it is not using what is known as preattentive attributes in the form of color, and this case, I have made a chart with the fours colored in red and sized larger. So the fours are bolded and the other text is not. So you can clearly see now how easier it is to actually understand what the data is showing you with that set of stimuli.

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