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The One Screen Every App Should Replace

I put apps on a diet; if I can find a way to get rid of every screen in your app while still making your service useful, I’ll do it. And if there’s one screen every app can do without, it’s the salesperson of user interface design: the dashboard.

Knowing how you’re doing is important, but how often do you look at a dashboard then do something to better the results? Not often enough! It’s helpful to know my performance is up or down compared to the previous period, but what I really want to know is what I should do about it. Time spent looking at charts is often better spent improving your chances of success.

The information you typically see on a dashboard is more useful when it’s contextualized in a way that enables users to take action. If you want to show results for your blog posts, place it on the blog listing, where the context is set and the user is already focused on their blog (and not their entire website). Better yet, use past performance as a guide by putting relevant statistics in the blog editor itself. Knowing the demographic breakdown of my blog audience is useful, but having it available when drafting a post makes that information impactful.

What someone should see when they open your app is something that gives them an immediate next step. Don’t just hope users know what action to take, tell them. Instead of a report of past activity, use the first screen users see to push towards more activity. If your app is centered around a single task, the latest or most relevant item can be displayed, with visual prompts guiding the user to take action. Or you can greet your user with a to-do list for the day, displaying tasks as a daily directory that pushes them forward.

When you combine every aspect of your app into one screen you’re asking someone to do everything all at once, and we all know how unproductive that can be. Replace your dashboard and show your users you truly value their production.

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