Creating a Dashboard
New dashboards default to Blank, but you also have the option to automatically add widgets for each KPI in the organization. This can be a great starting point for building KPI dashboards.
In this example, we’ve selected speedometers, and when you click “create,” the new dashboard starts with a speedometer for every KPI in the organization.
This is what the dashboard would have looked like if we had chosen bubbles.
To add a widget, click the Add Widget button in the button row.
This shows the Add Widget menu, where you can choose what you want to add to your dashboard.
Each type of widget has unique configuration options, many of which are discussed in separate articles.
- Speedometer and Linear Gauge
- Initiative Chart
- Chart and Report
Editing a dashboard is a lot like editing a PowerPoint slide. You can drag and resize dashboard widgets to create any layout you want. See the Widget Spacing, Alignment, and Sizing article for more information.
Automatically Resizing Canvas
Your dashboard canvas will automatically expand as wide as you want it to be. For example, we can start dragging this chart here:
And then watch the canvas grow as we drag it away from the pie chart.
When you're viewing your dashboard, the size of your canvas doesn't matter. Spider Impact automatically zooms the dashboard so that it fits on screen. This is a lot like how PowerPoint presentations never have scroll bars during the presentation, but they do when editing.
Here we've made the browser very short and the dashboard resizes to fit.
Of course you can always click on the space around the dashboard to zoom in. Clicking again will zoom you back out.
Font Size Appearance
An interesting side-effect of automatic dashboard sizing is that you can universally make all text on dashboards appear larger or smaller by changing the overall size of the dashboard while keeping its general layout the same. For example, here’s a dashboard where the pie chart labels look too small.
Here’s what the dashboard looks like when we edit it.
To fix the problem, we’re going to resize each widget to be smaller, reduce the font size of text widgets, and move widgets closer to each other. We’ll keep the general dashboard layout the same and just make everything smaller and closer.
Now when we view the dashboard, the pie chart labels are much easier to read. That’s because the labels stayed the same size while everything else became much smaller.
For reference, this is what we started with.
Spider Impact automatically puts smaller dashboard widgets on top of larger dashboard widgets, completely avoiding the "move forward" and "move back" hassles seen in other software. For example, if you put small performance bubbles on top of a chart, they'll be above the chart so you can see them.
If we resize these exact same widgets and put the chart over one of the bubbles, however, the chart is now on top.
Keeping smaller widgets on top of larger widgets works great the vast majority of the time. If you're doing very complex layouts, however, there are times when you want to force a widget to the top.
In this example, we have an award image that we want to cover several smaller bubble widgets. Spider Impact is bringing the smaller bubble widgets to the front, though.
To force the award image to the top, we're going to turn on the "Keep in Front" toggle in the widget's configuration menu.
Because dashboards automatically put larger widgets underneath smaller widgets, you can upload a large background image and your smaller widgets will appear on top of it.
If you aren’t careful, however, you can accidentally move your background image as you’re editing other widgets. To solve this problem, just select the background image and turn on "Lock".
Not only does locking a widget prevent it from moving, but it also prevents it from being selected along with other widgets. So, when the background image is locked, you can drag to select all of the widgets on top of it without selecting the background image itself.
Please see the Dashboard and Strategy Map Backgrounds article for more information about all of the ways you can make dashboards even better with background images.