I prototype OLAP-analytics desktop application, that contains a lot of screens, that generate reports. Common process of such generation is:
- Users sets up analytics parameters (period, data segment etc. — maybe similar to Google Analytics filters)
- Application processes data (it can be really time consuming, up to minutes)
- Application displays table with results (or any other visual representation)
Typically such task is solved like in Google Analytics — user navigates to necessary report type, and sees the table with default report (or any previously generated), that is calculated on the fly, and some filters to change analytics parameters:
download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups
But the problem in my cases is that generation of ANY report can take up to minutes, and there are no default or previously calculated reports, because the data for analytics go in real-time. Actually, there is no need to display last report, so such layout can have any sense only when the user wants to correct current report content.
So, the solution can be something like a master: user at first selects report type, then enters report parameters, and only then report data are displayed. But I don't see any patterns to make it fine for desktop app, because masters usually are made in modal dialogs, and here such interaction can be rather annoying.
Right now I see such solution, where user sees the report only after manipulations with analytics parameters (don't analyse the form, it is dumb, but the amount of parameters is similar).
But it is rather "web" in approach, and the target window size is Full HD (the reports are huge in details and information), so it seems to be not really effective solution.
So, can you suggest more effective solutions for such "Select report type → Set up parameters → Request system → Wait → View report" scenario in desktop (Windows) app?