Now that we’re four days in, it kind of feels like we’re getting the hang of this Dashboard Week thing. Most importantly, I think we’re all getting better at scoping our work, being reasonable in our ambitions and we’re continuously getting quicker at every stage of the ETL and viz building process. Time management was especially important for me today as I ran an hour-long webinar in the afternoon around table calcs (it was high-caffeine intake day). That being said, I had little time to format and ‘prettify’ my viz once I had finally managed to build the views I had hoped for.

Today’s data came from the United States Drought Monitor website, which we connected to via an API. The documentation was clear enough, although the data itself was a little difficult to get our heads around – but that’s all part of the fun!

My idea was to build a dashboard that would allow a view at first glance to gain an overview of drought levels across the US since the data was first collected (2000). A viewer would then be able to drill down from this overall impression to understand the particular hotspots across the country, by state and then by county if they so wish. As such, and since I had spent too little time on usability, at the end of the allotted time my dashboard appears too complicated and packed with information.

I enjoyed the subject matter and the challenges that went along with it, including dealing with a high-volume of data at low level of granularity. I think I’ll keep refining the dashboard, as I want to keep working to get the balance of information right and spend more time refining its usability.

The dashboard, as of 5pm