Product Design

Could Be Better: Google's Dashboard

By Nicholas Gracilla  ·   December 5, 2011  ·  2 minute read

Topics: User Experience

Don't let your Dashboard become a dumping ground for alerts, notifications, and promotions. Keep your Dashboard lean and action focused with user dismissible notifications, or notification stacks.

Don’t let your Dashboard become a dumping ground for alerts, notifications, and promotions. Keep your Dashboard lean and action focused with user dismissible notifications, or notification stacks. 

Let’s set aside Google+ in this conversation — I’ve found that Google+ is a pleasure to use, with some of the easiest image upload features imaginable. But for the most part, we can agree that Google’s software is typically powerful, but typically a nightmare to configure and not fun to use.

Updating my Google Apps account today reminded me of this:

Screenshot 520

This Dashboard could be better.

  1. A dashboard is supposed to help a user DASH to the task they’re up to: ensure your key indicators and primary actions aren’t shoved out of the user’s sights.
  2. Notifications on new features are a necessary evil — so do it, but let’s get it over with!
  3. Allow users to close out notifications that aren’t relevant to them.
  4. Notification pile-on creates visual and mental fatigue — “what, I have to read all of this now? Um… maybe later.” Use notification stacking to let users read through past alerts on their own time.
  5. If one of your notification spaces is going to become a permanent advertising space (like the Recommended Apps), then make it that: don’t contaminate the usefulness of an alert space with advertisements that blind me to reading them at all.

Maybe that second alert on the new Google Apps look and feel will address all this… we can only hope!