Guest Blog by Michael Womack – Adventures in Bamboo PM Central: “It’s All About Dashboard Usability…”

Moving on with my testing, I have been resolving some page layout issues with the "top level page" that displays the dashboard for our portfolio of projects.  Initially, when the top level page was produced, we placed three summary charts side-by-side, which resulted in a very wide page that required horizontal scrolling to see everything.  That's a 'no-no' in the Web design world (not to mention it is annoying for users, and an indication of a Web novice at work).

With some guidance from the Support team at Bamboo Solutions, I was able to resolve the horizontal scrolling issue and still maintain the three summary charts I wanted to display by moving the third chart on the far right to just under the first chart on the far left …that did it… much better now.  I am certainly a newbie at this, but I don't have to make it obvious to everyone!

Questions for my blog readers:

What summary chart information do you find most useful to display on the Project Central tab's top level page?  Also, to whom is this info most useful, aside from the PMO Manager?  The default charts are Task Summary, Issue Summary, and Milestone Summary.  I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

If you are interested, demonstrated below is the process I followed in order to adjust the charts.  If you know of an easier way, please post any shortcuts that you may know about.

Located at the top right of the Top Level Site page, click on the Site Actions button, then click on Edit Page:

 


This will display the entire Top Level Site page with all of its Shared Web Parts.  Scroll down to view the chart for which you wish to adjust the size.  Click on the edit drop down menu located in the upper right corner of the Chart, and click on Modify Shared Web Part:

This will display the entire Top Level Site page with all of its Shared Web Parts.  Scroll down to view the chart for which you wish to adjust the size.  Click on the edit drop down menu located in the upper right corner of the Chart, and click on Modify Shared Web Part:

Note: You may see one or more of the menus expanded. Either way, click on the plus sign next to the 'Chart Plus Configuration' item and scroll down to the bottom section of this item to see the 'Style Sheet' section.

In the 'Style Sheet' section next to the 'Custom Settings' title (familiarity with HTML code here is helpful), click on the Edit button.  Locate the 'Height' and 'Width' dimensions (in pixels) at the top of the page, adjust as desired, click on the  button at the bottom of the page, then click to Apply the change to the Shared Web Part and see the result:

 

 

The end result should be consistent with the overall look and feel you want for all project sites within a group.  It bears repeating that horizontal scrolling is an indication of poor Web design, in addition to the fact that when used, it quickly becomes annoying to users.  Vertical scrolling is certainly acceptable, and is almost always unavoidable, just don't overuse it by trying to put everything on one page to the point it wears out the scroll wheel on your mouse to view all the content!

The end result should look pretty close to this, though your template graphics may vary:

'Til next time…

Follow Mike Womack's entire Adventures in Bamboo PM Central guest blog series:

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