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Useful UI: The Dashboard Metaphor

biz-dashboard-definition

Every now and then a useful term comes into widespread use and it can be hard to decide whether it’s a fad (e.g., home banking) or something that will be around for decades (e.g., ATM). Dashboard is a term we are seeing more and more of. While it’s too soon to say if it will still be around in the next decade, let alone in 50 years, it’s a good word in wide use in consumer and business services today (see definition below).

redfin-dashboard
Redfin’s homeowner dashboard

Redfin, for example, sends new homeowners an email suggesting they log in to the Owner’s Dashboard of their new property. Redfin must be matching home-buying records to its user database to make the connections. It’s a nice touch. Who wouldn’t want to sit in the virtual driver’s seat of their most important asset and get a look around. And with home prices appreciating in most parts of the country, it’s a mighty fine view. In the example, the home value is up almost 15% since February.

Banks should consider using similar language for their advanced digital banking services. Rather than a fancy name to confuse consumers, use Dashboard, which is not only easy to remember, but also has all the right connotations. One major bank already doing so is BB&T (see below), with its unique customizable mobile and desktop service, U. Another is Ohio-based First Financial Bank as well as $88 million Gateway Community Bank (screenshot below).

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BB&T's U digital banking is centered around a "Dashboard"
BB&T’s U digital banking is centered around a “Dashboard”

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Bottom line: The name of a digital service isn’t going to make or break it. But as we struggle with educating users on the features and benefits, the use of known terms can ease the learning curve.

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Gateway Community Bank homepage with news of its new "Dashboard View"
Gateway Community Bank homepage with news of its new “Dashboard View”