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Survey and workshop idea to help you gather more information:
Initial survey: what information is important to your users?
At this point, you will have some hypotheses about the categories you could select for the dashboard. Use this survey as a voting system for different types of data and to confirm your assumptions about important activities / useful information. At this point, you only care about the categories and subjects, so I would not include any images – as soon as you show them, they will become the main objective. Try to ask specific questions, which you think can direct you to the right direction of what information is important and useful for your users.
Workshop: define the initial concepts
This simple workshop idea will help you define the initial concepts for your dashboard and get to know your users better. I would recommend meeting the participants individually and asking them for a voice recording permission, so you can type in the notes later (or you can ask someone to like to join the session and take notes).
Preparations for the workshop:
From the research completed so far (including the survey), prepare the initial ideas for the categories of charts that you will present on the page. Imagine writing chart titles for each of these categories and writing them down. Select 5 or more chart titles, but make sure the number is not too high, as it may become boring for the participants.
1. Once the chart titles are ready, print them on separate tabs.
2. Prepare a worksheet or print this work form (image below). Feel free to use your / modify this to be more specific.
3. Post-it note holder, pens and desserts (optional, but cute).
Details of the session:
Activities 1. Show the chart titles to the participant, but do not try to explain what you mean by title (this will also evaluate your copy). Ask them to order the cards from the most important information to a minimum. If they can, they must narrate their mental process while they are sorting the cards. Ask questions to encourage them to let you know what they are thinking, but be careful and do not take their answers to a result that you think is right.
Activity 2. Once ordered, place the cards on the printed work form (in the chart column). Each chart title now has its own line: ask the participant to think of a title as a potential chart and write down the answers for each section (what / why / shows …). Ask them questions in all this to help them in the process:
Describe in a sentence: what information, in your opinion, will represent this chart?
Why do you think this chart can be useful (or not useful)? What do you think you would use this information for?
What control would you have on these data and why? For example, to select a date range or select a specific category. Allow them to outline an idea if they wish.
After the workshop, be sure to review the data and prepare a summary so you can use it for your prototypes. What surprised you? All the chart titles were included as expected? Which chart category was voted the most important and why? Which was the least important?