Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Dashboarding Dos and Don'ts

Nice summary on dashboard design. It's about an hour, but worth the time.

Dashboarding: The Developers’ Role in Data Analysis

Visual display
the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives
fits entirely on a single screen
so it can be
monitored at a glance.

(Stephen Few)

Categories of dashboard:

  • Strategic (long term decisions)
  • Analytical (immediate decisions, explorable)
  • Operational (immediate decisions)


  1. too big
  2. missing context
  3. excessive detail
  4. deficient measure
  5. inappropriate visualization
  6. meaningless variety
  7. poorly design visualization
  8. large lie factor
  9. poor arrangement
  10. bad highlighting
  11. chartjunk
  12. unattractive display


  1. simplicity - reduce non-data pixels (data-ink ratio)
  2. simplicity - reduce data pixels
  3. highlight appropriately (color, position, form, motion)


Information Dashboard Design (Stephen Few)

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (Edward R. Tufte)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Push Notifications for HTML5 Web Apps (Not)

I've been helping a high school student with a senior project related to an app she is developing in HTML5. Push Notifications were desired and are of course one of the more useful aspects of having a mobile solution. Unfortunately, Push Notifications (without using a third-party solution) require a native app, at least at the present time for a broad iPhone/Android audience.

PhoneGap may offer a solution, but I've started on a research project into alternatives for developers wanting to offer a nice Web App solution supported by a third-party Push Notifications solution. Here are some links that I've found so far:

There are no doubt some text messaging service options that would provide another route for a solution that requires a capability like Push Notifications. I'll append these here over time.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Culture Hacking

Ran across a couple of presentations that are relevant to building team culture, especially for virtual work groups. The first is a keynote by Jim McCarthy. I've been a long-term fan as he wrote a great book. See Pre-Agile Ideas: Jim McCarthy Videos for more. Here is the link to his keynote:

Culture Hacking

Some interesting quotes (he's very quotable) and take-aways:

  • Get women involved! Technical teams lack diversity.
  • "I'm not a real historian, but I like stories from history"
  • "great editorial wall of China"
  • "everything you do should be art"
  • "team = product"
  • Feeilings are "mad, sad, glad, afraid"
  • "any process will work with presence"
  • Book: Flow (P.S.)
The other presentation that is full of tips for running virtual teams based on experience at InfoQ itself:

Culture and Happiness in Virtual Teams

Some interesting observations:

Some questions from my experience:

Do daily or twice weekly (Tue/Thu) virtual standups work well when there are language barriers? Sometimes written communication is more effective.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Evils of Multi-tasking and Personal Kanban

Great presentation (30 minutes) on why multitasking is poor for productivity and how personal Kanban (and Kanban in general) works.

There is a great short exercise at the beginning of the video that illustrates the cost of context switching.

The Evils of Multi-tasking and How Personal Kanban Can Help You (by Sandy Mamoli)

Kanban in a nutshell: 1) visualize your work flow, 2) limit your WIP

I'm experimenting with a personal Kanban board made using a 30" x 20" project board:

The Pomodoro Technique is also discussed (http://pomodorotechnique.com/). I'm experimenting with a

Pomodoro App on my iPhone