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VisualCue creates dashboards based on icons, called tiles

Posted on Sunday, May 4th 2014

One of the key messages Stephen Few always share with his audience is that you can put more information in graphics than with numbers, using the same number of pixels. VisualCue Technologies seems to found their roots in this rule. Bringing dynamic icons to business intelligence software, VisualCue reinvents the way corporations can build dashboards. The mission statement of VisualCue is to “create a universal understanding of data trough simplicity”.

VisualCue creates dashboards based on icons, called tiles
In VisualCue solution, icons are called tiles. On each tile, you group information by pictograms, colors, signs… And you create walls of tiles to summarize information.

Let’s take an example. Here is a tile; a tile to aggregate data for one agent in a call center. On this tile, you have nine KPIs. Colors in green, yellow, blue, or red, shows you in seconds if you have a problem with this agent or not. And if you have thirty-five agents in your call center, the dashboard below can show you the indicators for all of them. The “universal understanding” mission is created by colors, where everybody instantly react as green=positive and red=negative.
Core of the system, the Mosaic Builder is a wizard to create your tile’s dashboards. VisualCue says you can do it in three easy steps: connect to your data, choose your tile (and customize it), and define tile actions. A tile can be picked up in tile’s library provided by VisualCue or created by the customer. To create a tile, you will need Adobe Illustrator and use layers to create the components of your tile, colors…

VisualCue creates dashboards based on icons, called tiles
Tiles can be used in dashboards to tell stories. And it can be used in visual processes, placed on a map or on a process schema to supervise a situation.

But… Another rule enhanced by Stefen Few is “less is more”. When you look at some tiles dashboards created with VisualCue; they seem difficult to read and analyze. Too many data have been linked to a unique dashboard. In our call center example, 35 tiles x 9 KPIs… means 315 KPIs on the same page… maybe the limit…
Using personalized tiles to summarize information regarding a KPI or a process is a really good idea. And VisualCue did a great job bringing tile creation and customization to advanced users. But as always, there's a limit! And too much information brings the reader to the opposite of clearness.

VisualCue adds real value to BI solutions; but maybe not enough to grow as an independent company. I would rather see a BI or CPM vendor acquire VisualCue technology and integrate it into its own solution; maybe in a couple of years when VisualCue would have demonstrated by many customers and applications, the value it brings to data storytelling and data visualization. Actually VisualCue is used, for example, by Nestle Waters and Tupperware.

I am an independent industry analyst, and author, with 20 years experience specializing in business... Know more about this author

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