Let’s take a moment to appreciate the largest title of a post of this blog to date. Building Performance Metrics Dashboards for Mobile Freemium Games is a mouthful and is exactly what we’ll discuss today.
Let’s dive right in.
A bit of history
What I’ll show you below is how we currently build the standard metrics dashboards for our games at Miniclip.
I say currently because there have been many versions with different presentations and metrics. This current state exists for about a year as far as metrics go. The aesthetics have been updated in the last six month. So I would say it is pretty stable but constantly evolving.
There was a lesson I learned from this “process” of evolving our standard metrics dashboards. The sentence “less is more” is often used in data visualisation. The lesson I learned goes a little bit further than that and I’ll share it with you:
Big dashboards filled with plots and buttons scare the hell out of people!
That is why the front page, the first dashboard in every single one of our games only gives a handful of basic metrics. My experience is that overloading people with data creates a weird effect. On one hand people look for what they want to find, on the other hand they try to understand how they can use it the whole thing that is available. It is much better to have simple, short and contextualised dashboards.
Here’s a mockup of our dashboards…
Why oh why?!
This wouldn’t be exactly useful if I didn’t explain why this dashboard exists in the form it does right?
For starters, this is just to give an idea. Trying to infer anything from those graphics is nonsense. 🙂 Second and as you probably noticed, all visualisations are line graphs. This serves several purposes:
- It makes it easier to read trends
- It allows for many days to be displayed with very low noise when compared with bar charts
- Unlike bar charts and area charts we can use scales that don’t start at zero which makes the trends and differences more obvious and readable
The top and bottom values are highlighted. It’s a very simple and effective visualisation hinting system. Not only it gives enough information for the user to understand the scale without looking at the axis or interacting with the plot but it is also very clean and elegant. I would love to have thought of this myself, but I saw it on BIME for the first time.
The top section has users. Knowing active and new users is the single most vital piece of information we want. The middle section has revenue and related to it, the bottom has monetisation. As far as business goes, this is what we want to know.
But Vlad… what about retention!
Ah you got me there! Yes, retention is my all time favourite and yet I left it out of the first dashboard my colleagues look at. The reason for that is that cohort analysis are treated separately.
I’ll follow up with that on the next posts.