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.
Since becoming a full-time BI consultant focusing on dashboard development, I have found that mockups and wire-frames are critical tools of the trade. While I have tried other tools (I particularly liked Balsamiq), I’ve realized that I always come back to PowerPoint. Why? Well for a number of really good reasons…
1.) It’s Powerful – shapes, layers, and hyperlinks to mimic navigation
2.) It’s Universal – Everyone can move stuff around, add comments and share with others, without needing special software. Images and PDFs are also pretty universal, but not as easy to edit.
3.) It’s Reusable – Many elements can be reused for different dashboard wireframes, and best of all, I can use backgrounds and custom shapes from PowerPoint as image components in SAP Dashboards.
4.) It’s Familiar – After using PowerPoint for 15+ years, it has become the fastest way for me to produce a good wireframe.
On the other hand, it can be frustrating and inefficient when you start to have a bunch of custom shapes and diagrams spread across numerous PowerPoint files. While I have several ‘template’ files, but works as well as the PowerMockup add-in. It gives you a separate menu to store custom diagrams and comes with huge stencil library on it’s own. And when you’re done, anyone else can open and edit the file and see the stencils as native PowerPoint shapes.