10 traps to avoid
Creating the Business Intelligence application is very complex process. We can distinguish several traps, which can seriously harm the final product. Some of them are typically technical mistakes, some are more UX focused.
Trap 1 – Ignoring the End User
Putting 90% of the projects resources into the data and data design and 10% into the front end user interface is going to have the desired effect. You will find yourself in immediate danger of delivering a technically perfect application that nobody uses.
Trap 2 – Spreadsheet
Spreadsheets – Just because the team designing the Business Intelligence application (typically power users with IT) is familiar with spreadsheets, does not mean that a spreadsheet look and feel on the web will suffice for the greater user community.
Trap 3 – Simple is not enough
Nice formatting and simple navigation does not empower the user to make decisions. There is more to it than that.
Trap 4 – Confusing easy to use with will use
Don’t confuse easy-to-use with will-use. Just because it is easy does not mean that it is engaging. Most executives have IQ to spare when it comes to Business Intelligence, but only engaging applications will keep the executives interest.
Trap 5 – Not anticipating changes
Assuming that the user knows what they want can be dangerous. During the project design phase users will define what reports they need and how they want to access them. This will rarely satisfy the user after six months of use. Plan for a more dynamic application with scope for growth and change.
Trap 6 – One size fits all
One view does not fit all. User specific or group specific Business Intelligence is important.
Trap 7 – Hard to find
Don’t assume users will relate to report names. They won’t. Users remember reports and analysis visually and not by the name associated with them. Provide a menu of report pictures instead.
Trap 8 – Three strikes & out
Do not assume that users are prepared to hit a lot of buttons to find their desired report / information. Typically a senior user will stop using the application after a few attempts. As a rule of thumb use three strikes and the application is out!
Trap 9 – Being too technical
Getting the technology right is not the top priority. Putting an application in place that users will use and will derive value from over time is the first priority.
Trap 10 – Boring & over done
Beware of chart and gauge overdose. Adding charts and gauges to spreadsheet styled grids does not ensure a high level of user adoption, nor does it make an engaging application. Instead introduce highly visual guided analysis tools such as the 360-degree viewer and the 3D-City.
Despite the type of the trap, it’s always good to keep them all in mind.