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Posts tagged ‘Twitter’

How to Design Web Dashboards That Communicate Actionable Insights

As a web app developer or designer, you have probably played around with the idea of building a web dashboard. Dashboards on modern websites can be helpful tools allowing anyone to take away insights at a glance. Companies that get the right data, ask the right questions and display data in the right way stand out from other web apps.

But sometimes dashboards are only designed as charts for the sake of charts. Recently, Twitter announced they were planning on introducing an analytics platform to help uncover insights in social media campaigns. The tool’s design looks outstanding; overlapping line graphs showing clicks against bar charts showing tweets, plotted out by hour.

Just don’t let the aesthetics fool you. A social media marketer would not be able to glance at the charts and determine how to improve their campaigns with any amount of certainty. This analytics dashboard leans closer to eye candy.

When building a dashboard, remember one thing: All dashboards should communicate information that users will be able to act upon.

The intent behind this post is not to put a spotlight on Twitter. There’s a lot of potential for a Twitter-owned analytics platform.  Instead, put the spotlight on your own web apps.

Take this same perspective we used with Twitter’s dashboard and use it on your own. What kind of implications would users be able to learn from your dashboards? If a chart is strictly showing data points, it’s likely not valuable to a user. Kill those charts. Show your users something they would be able to react to.

For those seeking inspiration, here are a few examples of sites using charts and dashboards well.

Mint.com

Instead of just charting your total assets against your total debt, Mint.com shows how your net worth changes over time.

 

Adobe Business Catalyst

Business Catalyst gives users a snapshot of their businesses’ health, beyond the latest metrics or sales.

 

Facebook Ads

Facebook estimates your campaigns’ reach, which uses marketers own words to indicate campaign performance.

 

Google Analytics

The mother of all web dashboards does not disappoint. Google Analytics works fine when web owners install a tracking code, but the real power is unlocked once businesses begin tracking revenue and conversion data. Suddenly, web design decisions can be motivated by previous sales.

 

Crowdbooster

We wrote about Crowdbooster last year because of the value their dashboards bring to people on Twitter. Crowdbooster helps marketers understand what’s working with their social media campaigns or, more importantly, what’s not working.

Favwork: Designer Showcase Community


Forget about invite-only showcase sites or pay-to-play design directories. Favwork is a free, welcoming community for all designers to upload and showcase their best work.

Creating an account is as simple as signing in via Twitter. Once you upload your work, share it across Twitter. Other users can stop by and like your work, and the most liked uploads are featured weekly on the homepage.

The site’s layout is very similar to Dribbble, but Dribbble controls quality by requiring a referral in order to register. As a result, similar sites often lock out solo freelancers and unintentionally places greater emphasis on exclusivity. Favwork successfully shifted the focus from building enthusiasm for an exclusive community to building enthusiasm for great work. And since the community is powered by a social site like Twitter, the barrier is low enough for anyone to join. Kudos, Favwork.

RainMaker: Donate as Easily as a Tweet

It’s becoming easier and easier to donate online. The next step in the evolution is RainMaker, which lets you donate using nothing more than a tweet.

After linking your Twitter and PayPal accounts to your RainMaker account, donate by sending a quick tweet with a dollar amount, a cause and RainMaker’s Twitter handle. Something like, “#redcross is doing wonderful things, so I’m giving $20 through @rainmakerapp” does just well. As long as you include the three parts, you don’t need to stick to any format. Your donation is transferred from PayPal to RainMaker within a few hours.

Each cause is given their own page on the network, complete with a progress bar and a feed of other Twitter users supporting them.

Donating to a cause is great, but the real power in RainMaker is helping causes get their messages to mass audiences. Each time you tweet a donation, all of your Twitter followers see it. Additionally, you can also setup a fundraising goal for yourself to encourage your followers to donate. It’s the perfect way to organize a mini Twitterthon on your own. RainMaker tracks performance on your user page.

RainMaker was produced by Company 52 and led by Michael Poythress, Jonathon Hill, Matt Blackwell and Paul Jones.

Editor’s note: For those keeping track at home, we recently profiled another app called Rainmaker, which helps organize your Google contacts. These two apps are completely separate from one another.

Crowdbooster: Bring Analytics to Twitter

Even with so many companies investing in social media, we still struggle to make sense of our data. You may tag your links with utm_source and utm_content to measure best performing Tweets. Or you may run recurring media sentiment analyses to see how people are responding to your brand online. There’s plenty of space for these tools to evolve, and Crowdbooster may be the next step.

Crowdbooster, now in private beta, brings analytics-driven insight to your Twitter account. It goes beyond tweets and frequency to allow you to uncover new ideas on how people are responding to your messages. The service plots your tweets against retweets and people reached to identify your most magnetic messages. Crowdbooster can also track your activity and your followers’ activity and actually recommend the best timeframes for when to tweet. Seriously. Paid members can generate custom reports and export them to PDFs and Excel. Ultimately, Crowdbooster tells marketers what’s working and what’s not working in a matter of minutes.

The twittersphere is not by any means lacking tools for people to plugin and use. Ever since Twitter launched their API, script kiddies and hobbyists have been looking for any excuse to build an app. Fortunately, Crowdbooster provides real business value, and it’s powerful enough to make marketers wonder how they ran their campaigns without it.

Crowdbooster is available in private beta at the moment. Be sure to mention “MiniSprout.com” when you sign-up.

Hashable: Introductions Via Twitter

Hashable, launched today in private beta, helps people initiate introductions among friends and colleagues across Twitter and email.

If you’re using the service on Twitter, it’s pretty easy to form an introduction. Just tweet the hashtag “#intro”, two Twitter handles and the @hashable Twitter username. The service pulls together biographies using Twitter and LinkedIn and shares it with the two people to help break the ice. To help encourage use, there’s also a scoring system, called HashCred, which rewards users with points for each interaction. Hashable maintains a live feed of who’s connecting publicly, and you will be able to track the status on any introductions you’ve initiated.

Hashable isn’t just for introductions, though. The service can be used for meeting with anyone. Instead of using the “#intro” hashtag, substitute it for #coffee, #lunch, #dinner or any other hashtag. Then, these meetings will be archived on Hashable for your sorting and searching later. You’re really developing your own set of tags, which can change depending on your needs.

At the moment, Twitter is driving the popularity of the service, but you can also request introductions by email and, eventually, your phone. The initial response to Hashable has been outstanding, with users able to get into the closely guarded beta tweeting about how much they like it.

LinkedIn already offers a similar service for referrals. Hashable is seeking to become an alternative. And since you score points across the service for every interaction, it may just be addictive enough to catch on.

Replyz: Community Answers Based on Twitter

Back in 2005, Yahoo! launched their Q&A service known as Yahoo! Answers, and it just about became an overnight success. An entire community has grown around the property as people respond with the promise of winning points and badges.

The new social site Replyz brings this same sense of community to Twitter. Either on their site or by using the Twitter hastag #replyz, people may post questions to solicit responses. Replyz users tweet their responses. Users with the most replyz are featured on a leaderboard.

As with all Q&A services, there is a very likely chance that the submitted responses are not accurate, so people should use their own judgement when reviewing answers, especially related to health, finance and law. Replyz does not require an account to get started, so it may be an ideal option for people looking for a quick answer to a simple question.

Storify: Tell Great Stories Via Social Media

Storify is a service that allows users to tell stories using tweets, YouTube videos, photos and bookmarks. The end result almost represents a scrapbook, in the sense that it was collected from many sources, but also a social network, in the sense that a conversation can grow within the story.

Create a new page on a topic, and begin searching through your Twitter feed, TwitPic gallery and videos. Easily drag-and-drop components onto the page and reorganize as needed. Once your page is ready, share it. People may comment on different parts and reply to tweets.

Storify is currently available as invitation only, but even users without an invite can view a view of the pages already created here.