Timeboxed discovery of user dashboards

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Timeboxed discovery of user dashboards

A Dashboard in a box

Our typical approach to product development includes a ‘discovery’ phase in which we outline the possibilities of a concept before we actually build it. This involves competitor analysis, knowledge and insight gathering, assimilation to a company’s culture and objective setting. It’s a comprehensive process that usually takes around a month.

But some customers don’t have the time or budget to engage in a full scale discovery process. We were keen to find a way to support these clients and deliver useful output whilst staying in line with their budget and this approach works perfectly for the many customers requiring user dashboards.

The objective

We worked closely with a select group of clients to facilitate timeboxed 2-3 week discovery sessions focused on building user dashboards. Each customer produced a set budget for us to work with, and that determined the timeframe we would timebox for discovery.

The main goal was to help customers understand the potential value of user dashboards and build a workable prototype that they could use for obtaining stakeholder buy-in, lead generation or customer testing.

From a Digital Detox point of view, we were keen to test and prove a standardised approach to undertaking rapid discovery sessions for building dashboards that met users’ and customers’ needs.

The method

First, we worked to understand business objectives, competitor landscape, customers’ needs, industry specific challenges, existing systems and required functionality. From the beginning, it was key that we embedded members of DD into customers’ own teams to create a shared culture and establish mutual trust. This was critical to making progress at pace.

Then we explored how to implement universal functionality that would be agnostic to industry, client type and user role. In this way, it could be implemented by any business across multiple industries. To facilitate rapid decision-making and continuous progress, we maintained daily (sometimes inter-daily) contact with our customers. We used channels like Slack and HighFive to stay in touch, in addition to running daily team stand ups.

Critically, we kept senior stakeholders involved and informed as much as they needed to be so they could feed in and buy into the vision we were creating. This was also helpful to enable them to make decisions at key points, without disrupting their own work schedules outside of the project.


Objectives for the user dashboard

It was key to show that a customer dashboard could be easy to use, secure and intuitive without compromising on the aesthetics of the design Client data was a priority and it was critical to present options that would protect users and ensure compliance We wanted to produce as much working functionality as possible using interactive design tools like Sketch and InVision, so customers could test practical applications, instead of hypothesised theories.

The results

At the end of the 2 week discovery session, we presented our findings to the customers in a visual walkthrough. In typical DD style, we presented multiple options rather than just one route to consider. This meant clients could choose aspects they liked from each approach and get a wider understanding of what was possible.

We included a comprehensive overview of our thought process, approach, methodology, findings, suggestions and proposed next steps. As a team, this was a unique approach; the idea of presenting a roadmap of how functionality could work, rather than building the functionality upfront! It was a really productive process and gave us experience of mapping out user journeys and hypotheses, then testing these theories in a hands-on way that customers could understand and relate to.


Through discovery, we showed customers that a user dashboard can be beautiful, intuitive and user-friendly, all whilst fulfilling a practical administrative function in a secure, user-role based environment. We also gained experience of creating industry-agnostic functionality that could be used across a universal client base. In other words, customers could present our prototype as a lead generation tool based on the value that could deliver to prospective clients.

The impact

Proved that the Digital Detox team is able to create visual prototypes using complex industry-specific requirements presented as a simple, interactive and user-friendly, universal customer dashboard This showed what can be achieved within a super short timeframe, allowing customers to present a set budget that we can use to timebox our discovery process It also means our timeboxed discovery session is ideal for budget-conscious customers We created a workable prototype that can now be presented to senior stakeholders and board members for buy-in or taken to customers for testing/feedback.

At Digital Detox, we specialise in digital design, agile development and digital transformation for a wide range of clients across multiple industries. With an extensive portfolio and a hugely talented team, we’d love to take your vision and transform it into a reality!

If you’ve got an idea, challenge or opportunity to discuss, do get in touch.