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StatusWolf: Creating Dashboards That Don't Suck Using Art and Engineering

Mark Troyer (Box, Inc.)
Design
GA Ballroom K
Average rating: **...
(2.50, 2 ratings)

Building systems for gathering and storing large amounts of data is a problem that engineers can wrap their heads around. We have many good tools at our disposal now as the result of the work of many engineering organizations solving this for themselves. There are still hurdles, especially as data warehouses grow into the exabyte scale, but the technical issues are largely understood.

What to do with the wealth of data that we’re storing, on the other hand, is more nebulous. Tools are being constructed to slice and dice and dashboard your data, but there is still a level of dissatisfaction with what is available. Data analysis tools built by engineers are enormously powerful, but difficult to use. Pretty dashboards tend to be more limited in ways that you can deal with your data, and let’s face it, a truly well-designed interface for a data analysis tool is a rare thing. In this presentation I will discuss my dissatisfaction with the design of dashboarding tools, how I approached the decision to build something new, and what my goals are for StatusWolf.

I will talk about the motivations behind this project, the process of finding and dealing with the disparate data sources being used, the design philosophy and iteration of the interface and user experience, and the technical aspects of collecting, aggregating, analyzing and presenting data for humans to understand. Most of all I will discuss what I’ve learned about data presentation and analytics through this process, and how my background in art and design informed my engineering brain.

Photo of Mark Troyer

Mark Troyer

Sr. Operations Mechanic, Box, Inc.

Mark Troyer is Senior Operations Mechanic at Box, Inc. and has been focusing on analytics and visualization for the Technical Operations team. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Photography from Grand Valley State University but accidentally found a career in server operations working for internet providers and software companies, previously working for ANS, UUNet, Verizon and LeanLogistics.