A data visualization element (chart, table, map etc) can be just the visible tip of an iceberg. The data behind or the invisible complexity of the visual element itself can be highly sophisticated while appearing simple, straightforward and easily understandable.
If you were able to create a data visualization like that, great! It means you did an amazing simplification job, which is very difficult to do.
But let’s be honest, sometimes you just don’t have time to spend on something like that and want to pop up a meaningful data viz in a few seconds. If the chart’s configuration and the data is simple, then that’s fine to do it from scratch but what if you want something that requires more work under the hood?
A possible solution for this are gadgets. Let’s get into it.
What are gadgets? Gadgets or Widgets?
Gadgets are a new icCube concept that has been live for a few months now. What are they? How to use them? Here’s a quick start guide!
Some vocabulary, first. Widgets are any element you can add to a dashboard, i.e. table, map, line chart, column chart, KPI box, text box, filter, etc. A widget is ‘empty’ by default, meaning you have to input data and configurations (color, labels, transformations, etc) for it to display a finished result.
Gadgets are widgets, more precisely, they are preconfigured widgets, i.e. they are ‘ready’ with data and configurations. You create them in a separate editor and use them infinitely in dashboards.
Below you see the user creating an empty widget (bar chart) and adding data (#Sales by year). Next, the user chooses a gadget from the list of saved gadgets. Notice that the gadget is ready with data and configurations, and can also be a combination of several widgets!
Instead of adding to your dashboard ’empty’ widgets where you need to configure its query, chart, box and other options each time, you can create and use gadgets that are ‘ready’ with data and configurations.
If you’re using a same chart across several dashboards, prefer gadgets from widgets, this allows to solve persistency, meaning if you change the gadget’s definition, then all dashboards where this gadget is being used will be automatically updated.
User-friendliness / Limited dashboard usage
Gadgets can also be useful for exposing complex charts/data to non-technical users. They are a great starting point for users who are starting with icCube or do not want to dive into advanced widget configurations.
Gadgets exist provided that an advanced user has previously created them. With gadgets, you have a higher level of confidence on the data it’s displaying, as the person creating them is, usually, an advanced user that has a good understanding, not only of dashboard creation, but especially in the data model behind. Note that, as for other icCube configurations, access to creating gadgets can be granted or denied.
A few gadget use cases could be:
- Your customer-facing team wants to quickly pull together a dashboard to show something to a client
- You want to bring up figures in a top management meeting to support a given subject
- In an embedded scenario, where you are a software company integrating icCube, and icCube’s dashboard editor is also embedded, you want to leave not full but still some flexibility for users to create their own dashboards. Gadgets can guarantee consistency and correct results
- Or simply, creating quick and easy dashboards
Check the step-by-step video guide on how to create gadgets:
By Nathalie Leroy Tapia Heredia