Now that we have defined that we need a landing page and what it should look like I would like to talk about what a Network Operator and User would want to see on that page. What do we want front and center on our dashboard to manage our network?
Probably first and foremost I want to make sure that my network is running. Do I have any displays that have failed when they should be playing content? Specific wording in that last sentence that I should clarify - I need to know that if my displays are scheduled to show content from 9am to 5pm in their timezone and it's now 10am in that timezone and the display isn't responding then it has failed, versus it's 6pm and it isn't responding because it isn't scheduled to show content and it has been powered down. To accomplish this I would want to see a list of my displays with the time that they failed (in my timezone) and I want to sort that list so that I can see the oldest failure first. And if I click on a display I should be able to open a new tab with it's settings page to check it out for more details.
Now once I have the reactive firefighting taken care of in my dashboard view I would like to focus on my proactive management. To do this I want to see where my growth is at. A trend line over the last year of the total number of Displays in my network with a further breakdown of how many are Free, Premium and Operator Displays would give me the perspective that I need. And I also want to see the same thing for Company accounts as well; over the last year how many Free, Premium and Operator accounts have I added and now that I think of it I also want to add Users to that list. Why Users? I think it's important to expand the User base as the more Users that are on the system the more loyalty I can build and the more referral possibilities I can gather. So seeing what my User base is up to would also be really good to know.
At this point I should have a pretty good picture of my network. I know what's failed and what my growth trends are looking like and that's great, but now I need to manage my accounts in more micro detail and to do this I think there are three priority vantage points that I need:
- What's happened in the last seven days
- Whose the most active
- Whose the least active
I would like to see a log, scrollable, that shows in chronological order, what Companies, Displays and Users were added, deleted, made active or inactive over the last 7 days. Just a scrollable list with the ability to jump to the details in a new tab for any item I select. This view let's me see, measure and respond to network activity as it happens.
And then there is the bigger picture. I would want to know whose expanding the fastest as I want to learn more about what's working for them and why, and how I can support their efforts to go even further. And then on flip side, who is growing the least or shrinking, for the same reasons as growth but in reverse; I need to know why they are lagging so that I can hopefully intervene to turn the situation around.
And for each of the above if I had the option to export the data for that item to a spreadsheet so that I could work it over even more that would be awesome. And, I know this is sugar candy, but it would be real nice sugar candy, if I could see the above geographically as well. Something like if I click on a metric or item and a corresponding map shows me where it is. I click on Display Failures and I see where those Displays are. I click on most Active Displays and I can see where they have been added. Something like that.
And as always, each metric is a Google Gadget. I can decide which ones I want to use on my landing page Presentation, on my iGoogle start page, or even better - show on those large flat panel displays around my office to keep everyone focussed on the network and where it is going.
My thoughts only on what a Digital Signage Network Dashboard should look like and I would really like to hear yours. Feel free to jump into the comments and add away.