BankersLab - Dashboards that Facilitate Learning and Knowledge Retention
BankersLab delivers innovative solutions to train banking professionals at every level. Learning is normally associated with boredom. BankersLab is aware of this, and takes an innovative approach to training. Their Labs products are built using simulation gaming techniques that help banking professionals learn by playing and competing with each other. This is an attractive proposition for banks who recognize the importance of investing in their most important asset - their workforce.
The three Labs products of BankersLab - CreditLab®, CollectionLab®, and ScoringLab® - provide serious numerical simulations that allow banking professionals to gain experience managing retail credit portfolios, such as mortgages and credit cards. These applications take the essentials of game theory, and apply them to a real-life banking scenario. Banking professionals are organized in teams that compete against each other. Along the way, participants are not just engaged in lively gameplay, but importantly, acquire advanced skills on risk anticipation and forecasting.
The core objective of these simulation-based applications is to teach users cause and effect relationships between the decisions of the virtual bank and the impact on customers and portfolios. Michelle Katics, CEO, BankersLab, says that "a rich dashboard is the most important element of the user experience." All vital information like credit scores, and delinquency rates needed to be presented in the form of charts - line charts, bar charts, and pie charts. The charts would also need advanced features like interactive legends, drill-downs, captions, sub-captions, and tooltips. BankersLab knew they needed a comprehensive charting library that supports all these requirements.
Additionally, one unique feature that BankersLab needed was the ability to use charts as controls. This means that charts would not only inform players, but also allow them to take action using the chart itself. For example, a user would be able to set projections for unemployment for the upcoming quarters by clicking and dragging the points on a chart. This makes for a highly immersive, and intuitive experience.
Also, as is the expectation with all enterprise applications of today, cross browser and device support was a high priority. The goal would be to provide portable, technology-agnostic graphs, charts and user controls which would permit desktop, tablet, and smartphone users access to have a unified experience of the Labs products. BankersLab knew they needed a top-notch charting library to do meet their needs.
In their search for the ideal charting library, BankersLab left no stone unturned. They reviewed almost all available charting libraries, and zeroed in on a few of the best ones. On evaluation, they decided to go with FusionCharts for a number of reasons. First, it scored highest in terms of functionality, having all the required chart types, and interactive features. Second, the required features functioned seamlessly across all platforms, and was visually appealing no matter which device the dashboards were viewed on. Third, it supported XML input, which was the preferred method of input. And finally, it had a large and active support forum that seemed to have answers for all frequently asked questions, and any technical glitches that may come up along the way. All these points considered, BankersLab decided to go with FusionCharts for their charting needs.
BankersLab dashboards are built to be interacted with, not simply viewed. Users love the dashboards because of the little surprises that unfold at every step of the experience.
Comparative and quantitative data is presented using pie charts, and bar charts. Labels, captions, and sub-captions are used effectively to give context to the data presented.
Time-series data is presented using line charts. The interactive legend can be used to show or hide particular sets of data.
A heatmap makes categorical data easy to understand by bucketing the data into groups, and using contrasting colors for each category.
A marimekko chart is not regularly used in this type of analytics but BankersLab considered this because of the immediate insight it provides. They believe this is something that the broad palette of FusionCharts chart types has provided them. Kurt Gingher, CTO, BankersLab, says that "FusionCharts provides us not just visualization, but new ways to consider visualization."
Dotted line charts are used to show future projections. However, the most interesting feature of this dashboard is its ability to click and drag the markers to set projections for the quarters ahead. This type of interactivity is integral to the BankersLab user experience - calling users to take action, and in doing so to retain additional knowledge.
After each trial, the results and outcomes are shown immediately. This is a key strength of the Labs products. This sort of feedback loop that would typically take months to gather in a real bank, is got in a matter of minutes in the virtual bank.
Michelle affirms that "FusionCharts helps to deepen and cement the lessons presented by BankersLab products." On designing their dashboards, Kurt observes that "tabular data will continue to be an integral part of dashboards, but visualization tools can enhance the efficiency of tabular data if introduced carefully."
BankersLab dashboards are indeed a great example of user-centric design, that facilitates the learning process. They use advanced visualizations that don't distract from, but rather, are grounded in the core learning methodologies used in the applications. BankersLab is redefining how banking professionals are up-skilled, and is replacing 'boring' with 'gaming'.