The Power of Sound: What Dashboard?

The Future(s) of Dashboards: Overcoming Limitations and Delivering Actionable Insights

Along with visor-less VR, I continue to predict the downfall of the current dashboard structures. So, I feel comfortable advising that you do not invest or work for any VR visor-based dashboard businesses.

What people truly need is a way to make better decisions and achieve better outcomes. The goal should not be to create more dashboards and employ more AI, but rather to find ways to deliver insights to the right people at the right time.

Are dashboards becoming outdated due to inherent designer bias, the critical thinking skills of users, and the limited lifespan of typical dashboards usefulness?

Early forms of business dashboards may have been the catalyst of the earliest advances in math, such as the concept of zero, arithmetic, and fractions were made to deal with business transactions and trade.

The people who produced this work were the elites of the society and their work was seen as magical and incomprehensible by the common man. Analyzing business data at a scale that would enable patterns and insights did not become practical until the rise of computing.

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However, our understanding of how they fit into data practices in the workplace, especially for data workers who do not identify as professional analysts, remains limited. Furthermore, problems with dashboards lie in their inherent boundaries such as lack of critical thinking, the intrinsic frameworks of classic analysis and embedded biases and assumptions.

Moving forward into the future(s), industries will face the challenge of balancing access with dashboard functionality. There is already a clear trend toward providing wider access to more people and organizations that were previously too small to utilize legacy systems.

Fueled by more AI, automation is a common feature in augmented analytics solutions, but it’s important to understand the difference between automating tasks, as many technologies do, vs. automating the decision-making that analytics informs.

Could the next wave in dashboarding be focused not on data literacy, but rather on just-in-time insights to educating individuals to then ask better questions?

I challenge the analytics community to embrace dashboarding with more visualization, auditory and tactile “updates” that users can seamlessly integrate into their work contexts.

Humans have a remarkable ability to process information through both visual and auditory channels. However, the relative strength of visual or auditory processing can vary among individuals and can also depend on the specific task or context. As I stated in my last thought letter, Power of Sound III, many evolved solutions continue to be deeply reliant on all types of visuals because our past work functions were all visual so the current culture uses may remain the same.

Our human auditory processing, on the other hand, involves the interpretation and understanding of sounds, including speech, music, and environmental sounds. The auditory system in the brain is responsible for processing and decoding auditory information, allowing us to understand language, music, and localize sounds in our environment.

What if our dashboarding were only sound or tactical based?

Let me introduce you to KITT. With KITT, you can have live audio/video conversations with ChatGPT.

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Access to digitally stored numerical data is currently very limited for sight impaired people. Graphs and visualizations are often used to analyze relationships between numerical data, but the current methods of accessing them are highly visually mediated. Representing data using audio feedback is a common method of making data more accessible, but methods of navigating and accessing the data are often serial in nature and laborious.

Tactile or haptic displays could be used to provide additional feedback to support a point-and-click type interaction for the visually impaired.

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You may have not realized this, but humans have been undergoing a gradual training process, adapting to the world of audio commands and voice prompts. We can observe this transformation in various aspects of our daily lives.

Just take a look at the following examples:

Phone Voice Prompts: Remember the time when you had to navigate a series of options using the keypad on your phone? Nowadays, most phone systems have switched to voice prompts, allowing us to simply speak our requests and get the information or service we need.

Digital Assistants: With the rise of digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, we have become accustomed to interacting with our devices through voice commands. We can ask them to play our favorite music, provide weather updates, set reminders, or even control other smart devices in our homes.

Smartphones: Our smartphones have become more than just devices for making calls. They are equipped with intelligent voice recognition technology, enabling us to dictate messages, conduct voice searches, and operate various functions hands-free. The convenience and efficiency of using voice commands have become second nature to us.

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Smart Car Dashboards: Modern car dashboards are equipped with voice recognition systems that let us control various features without taking our hands off the wheel. We can make phone calls, navigate directions, adjust climate settings, and play music, all by using voice commands.

This steady integration of audio command technologies into our daily routines has trained us to rely on and embrace audio-based interactions. It has made our lives more convenient, efficient, and hands-free. As we continue to progress, we can expect even more advancements in voice recognition and natural language processing, further enhancing our ability to interact with technology using only our voices.

In conclusion, while the future(s) may always be uncertain, it is crucial for founders, CXO-level leaders, and product developers of all sectors to invest and training an internal foresight future(s) action team.

This team can provide new insights, a better understanding of local and global trends, test future scenarios, and develop action plans. By doing so, organizations can cultivate a flexible staff and be prepared to adapt to any situation that arises. By embracing the power of data and insights, and fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement, organizations can navigate the challenges of an ever-changing landscape and thrive in the face of uncertainty.