This is another editorial where I challenge myself to think of a better way of handling what I feel are problems in User Experience. During my career I have designed dozens upon dozens of product dashboards ranging from consumer portals, to customer control panels, with widgets, gadgets, gizmos, etc. The concept of a dashboard is both solid and sound; a central portal where a user can get a snapshot of everything related to them.
Ultimately I feel that they end up being a barrier of entry to most users; everything is present, but nothing is useful. It ends up being an extra step; a hoop the user must jump through to get where they need to go.
The purpose of the dashboard is to show the user as much information as possible, however this ends up looking convoluted, confusing, and often times the average user suffers from information overload and ignores everything on the screen.
I still think product dashboards serve a purpose in some traditional business applications. I do, however, think we need to start auditing their use more much more closely, as oppose to using them as a product crutch.