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I am designing a web application and I recently have been faced with a problem. The problem is that I am confused which method to use or which method is better to use. First let me give you a little information about the web app. The web application is management related, the main user can manage different categories in the web app (this is all I can say about the web application, sorry). Here are my options:

I have two options:

  1. I can create one dashboard, which holds the information about all the categories in general and when you go inside a category you can see the general information just for that specific category.

  2. The user can switch between categories, that means that every category has its own dashboard which shows the general information just for that single category.

Each category holds qualitative and quantitative data, so yes it would be possible to create a dashboard for just one category and leave the option to switch between categories. Also, there wouldn't be a problem if we would go with the other option, which would be a single dashboard which shows the general information about all the categories but than you could click in one category and you could see the general information about just that one category. Soo, my question is should I let the user switch between categories which means a dashboard per category or should I create one dashboard for all the categories but with the option of accessing the information by clicking on a category. Which is more intuitive?

  • We'll need more context in order to answer this. What's the main purpose for the dashboard? What information would the user want to find out? Approach 1 is good for a general overall scan. Approach 2 is good if users only deals with specific categories majority of the time. – nightning Nov 26 '15 at 17:23
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Activity-centric views

This is more than IA, it's a question of the entire user journey through your application. Step back and consider what activities your user is engaged in.

Are there roles and activities that follow a business process or path to discovery about key insights? What do they need in front of them (and what drill-downs do they need behind it) to make the right decisions. Design views that support these needs.

It may be a side-by-side overview of everything all at once: Then you need one big dashboard. There may be discrete groupings of data that will support separate activities: Then you have separate dashboards.

As you investigate these needs, you may also find that the app doesn't have everything your target activities require. Taking an activity-centric view (and researching it well) will expose the gaps in your application.

  • I am really glad I asked, this helped a lot! Thanks again. – A.H Nov 26 '15 at 20:31
  • Glad to help! Sounds like a fun project. – plainclothes Nov 26 '15 at 20:33
  • It's my first project as an UX intern so still learning and trying to do my best haha! – A.H Nov 26 '15 at 20:38
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It's the information architecture

This question is about information architecture, or IA. That is, it's about how to organize the pages or the content.

The good news is you can do research to determine which design suits your users. Otherwise, given the lack of context in your question, people who answer would be shooting in the dark.

A good tool for IA research

I like to use Treejack, by Optimal Workshop.

Optimal Workshop logo

Here's why I like Treejack:

  • It's affordable. You can set up your entire study before you pay, and you can easily complete a study within the time of a one-month subscription.
  • You get continued access to your data after your paid period expires.
  • It's easy to use this tool, and easy to learn this tool. There are good, free tutorials available.
  • The outcomes of your Treejack study are easy to interpret. Also, Treejack makes great graphics that you can use to show management the benefits of making UX decisions based on research data.

It's great when design decisions are informed by data, not merely by opinions.

I hope that helps you move forward.

  • 1
    Thanks for your feedback. It certainly is an Information Architecture problem and the question lacks context because I really can not explain it in details for discretion issues. I think I have decided on how to go about it, but I thought maybe if enough people answered I could maybe analyze the answers or just re think my decision. Anyway, thanks for the tip! :) – A.H Nov 26 '15 at 20:00

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