How to Make Examples Like the Pros

Lately there have been some nice SAP samples for Dashboards and Design Studio posted to Twitter. Soon I will be joining forces with Coy Yonce to discuss dashboard design and mockups in more detail, but I wanted to show you that you don’t need a graphics department to make sharp designs.

dashboard_sample_mobile

By leveraging PowerPoint, you can quickly build the background images for this type of design. In the attached ZIP file below, you can find the resulting Dashboard File and this PowerPoint detailing the steps.

First, you need to create your shapes. Here I have made a custom banner shape using the freeform tool, a simple triangle (slightly darker) and a rectangle with curved edges in gray. Once you layer them, you can apply some basic shadows (using shape formats) to give them depth.
howto

Finally, you can right click each set of grouped shapes and export them as PNG. It took me a few times to get the size lined up between PowerPoint and Dashboards (Xcelsius), but it was easy to do and looks great. In a few more steps, I assembled a basic dashboard to demonstrate the design.

Click on the following image to access the live version (Flash based), but the HTML5/Mobile version looks nearly identical except for the ‘random data’ button.

dashboard_sample

Download XLF File