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Design Your DAM Dashboard

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Blog header image: Design Your DAM Dashboard article.


Dashboard messages are a feature in Widen DAM that welcome users as they enter your digital asset management (DAM) system. You can use them to guide new users, highlight timely content, or notify users of changes. That’s why we’ve made it easy to create dashboard messages with no HTML or coding required.

Our DAM dashboard example

To help get you thinking about how you can make the most of your dashboard messages, we wanted to share our own.

ADAM (or Acquia Digital Asset Management) is our source for internal assets, resources, and historical content. It’s the go-to-source for all things related to the Widen brand. You’ll notice our dashboard features a variety of top searches for assets, links to brand documents, and ADAM help resources. All of these links help our employees understand and maintain brand consistency.

View of the internal Widen Collective Dashboard with individual links for brand guidelines, top searches, sales collections, top portals, and helpful links.


How to create your dashboard messages

Now it’s time for you to create your dashboard messages.

Step 1. Evaluate the current dashboard

If you already have a dashboard, start by reviewing it to understand the original goals and whether or not it’s effective. Is the look and feel on-brand? Does it help users find what they need? Think about what’s worked well and how you’d like to build upon those successes.

Step 2. Identify the information to include in your dashboard

Before you start designing your dashboard messages, identify what information needs to be included. If you have a DAM governance document, reviewing it to understand your purpose and vision statement for your DAM site are a good place to start when thinking about what to include on your dashboard. You can also talk to others, conduct UX research, look at Widen Insights data, review Google Analytics user session data, and apply your experience. Consider:

  • What information do you want users to be aware of and have access to?
  • What assets do your users look for most frequently?
  • What links to external sites would help users find what they need?
  • What parts of your DAM site (e.g., Workflow request forms, a portal, a template, or a collection) do you want to bring front and center? 


Before you commit to including all that you’ve identified, review your list and omit anything that seems redundant or unnecessary. For example, you might not need to list all of your portals, only the most commonly used ones. Also consider whether something is needed for everyone or only certain roles. Remember, if everything’s important, then nothing is. 

Step 3. Organize the information you’ll include in the dashboard

Now that you know what to include in the dashboard, it’s time to organize that information. You’re a DAM admin, so this should be the easy part!

There are three ways to customize your dashboard: dashboard messages, spotlight searches, and spotlight collections. Use dashboard messages when you want to have more flexibility with the layout of your messages or want to use custom graphics to represent search results, collections, portals, or other groupings of assets or external links. And opt for spotlight searches and spotlight collections to highlight commonly accessed searches and collections of assets. 

If you’re planning to link to specific parts of Widen DAM (like search results) or to external tools, test links early in the design process. Make sure you can easily link to where you need users to go. This is also a great time to review your metadata for key assets. If you’re linking to a set of search results, ensure that all of the assets you’d expect to see are appearing in the results.

Step 4. Evaluate your design resources

While you can use existing assets from the DAM site on your dashboard, you may want new graphics designed for the purpose of informing and directing your users. When designing the WAM dashboard, we worked with our creative team to create custom graphics for our messages. Our designers were brought in early on to better understand the thought process and goals for the dashboard. We also reviewed the new functionality with them so they could have a better understanding of how their designs would be used. Once they’d seen the new functionality and understood the dashboard goals, we provided the designers with copy, sizing direction, groupings, and hierarchy of the information for the messages.

If you don’t have the resources or your design team doesn’t have the bandwidth, you can try a tool like Canva to create custom assets. Just be sure to reference your brand guidelines for font, color, and other requirements. And when creating your dashboard assets, ensure you establish consistent sizes for each section. 

As part of your design planning, consider how you’ll make updates to the dashboard in the future. If you don’t already have one, create a dashboard asset group and category so you can easily find what you need when building your dashboard. You can also create a file naming convention for your dashboard assets. And as a best practice, upload the design files to the DAM site so that you can make updates to the image or copy in the future.

Step 5. Create your dashboard messages

Now that you know what information to include in your dashboard and what assets will be used to represent it, you can start creating your dashboard messages.

Step 6. Update your governance documentation

You have a new dashboard but your work as a DAM admin isn’t complete yet. Document the goal of your dashboard, what influenced the design of it, and how many messages you’ve created and for whom. This way you can easily reference your work in the future, like when onboarding a new DAM admin or when you’re ready to update your dashboard again.

What's next?

Your DAM dashboard welcomes your users into the site and should inform and inspire users on all that they can accomplish with the help of Widen DAM. Take advantage of the opportunity! Your users will thank you. 

If you're already a Widen customer, join the Widen community to connect with other DAM admins and learn more about how they're making the most of their dashboard. Or, if you aren’t using Widen DAM yet and want to see it in action, take a tour or get in touch with our advisor team for a full demo.


Note: This article was originally published in November 2018 and has been updated to remain current.

Topics: DAM Implementation

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