Guide to using the Geck-o-Meter visualization

When it comes to designing dashboards, people often turn to gauges as a way of representing a single data point that fluctuates over time like a speedometer in a car.

It’s easy to glance down and get the current speed on a car dashboard while driving and navigating traffic. Gauges work well in this context: we only care about the current speed and the direction the speed is going. When we need to slow down, we press down on the brake and can see our needle moving downwards. The speedometer tells us if we’re slowing down fast enough, and if we’re not, we adjust our braking so the needle moves at the right pace.

The Geck-o-Meter is a gauge visualization that eliminates the extra “ink” around the dial.

The Geck-o-Meter is most useful to quickly see a metric in comparison to defined minimum and maximum values. 

In this article:

 

When to use a Geck-o-Meter

Geck-o-Meters are a great choice to:

  • Show progress toward a goal.
  • Represent a percentile measure, like a KPI.
  • Demonstrate the health of a single measure.
  • Display information that can be quickly scanned and understood.

Geck-o-Meters are ideal for displaying data that:

  • Has a clearly defined range (minimum and maximum) of values.
  • Can be represented with a single numeric metric.

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Example uses

You could set up a Geck-o-Meter that displays the current number of sales of a product in a 24 hour period and the minimum and maximum values could be defined as the least and the most number of sales ever recorded in a 24 hour period.

Another use for this type of widget could be for current visitors on a website and similarly, the minimum and maximum defined as the smallest and largest number of visitors seen in a 24 hour period. 

Alternatively, you could be offering a workshop and use the Geck-o-Meter to track sign-ups. You could need a minimum number of users to sign-up before you could host the workshop and also only be able to support a maximum number of users. You could also desire a number of sign-ups in between a minimum and maximum that would be ideal for the workshop, set as your goal.

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Anatomy of the Geck-o-Meter

  1. Widget title – Describes the widget briefly. The default here is Geck-O-Meter
  2. Current value – The current value sits at the top (135 in the above example) and shows the exact numeric value at the time of reading.
  3. Maximum – This is the maximum defined value (150 in the above example).
  4. Needle - The needle on the Geck-o-Meter is positioned along the span at the current value relative to the minimum and maximum values.
  5. Minimum – This is the minimum defined value (10 in the above example).
  6. Goal - A threshold defined by you (120 in the above example). When surpassed, the current value is highlighted to alert viewers.  

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Behavior

The minimum and maximum values are automatically set if left blank. In other words, a default value is calculated (based on some rules) for your Geck-o-Meter's "min" and "max" if none is provided.    

The following rules (to set minimum and maximum) apply to Geck-o-Meters on our Salesforce and Spreadsheets integrations:

  1. If current value type is a percentage, default min is 0 and default max is 100
  2. If current value type is not a percentage, default min is 0 and default max is set to the closest power of ten higher than current value. With the smallest max being 10

Some examples of the latter:

  • If current value < 0, max = 10
  • If current value = 0, max = 10
  • If current value = 0.4, max = 10
  • If current value = 4, max = 10
  • If current value = 40, max = 100
  • If current value = 100, max = 1000

Default values are set upon saving if no value is manually specified for min / max in then the widget setup page.

NOTE: If you edit a widget saved without a min or a max value, default values will appear in the same way as if they'd been manually configured.

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Tips for creating Geck-o-Meters

Decide on a clear title. The title should be a brief description of the data that you want to show. 

Use the Decimal Places feature to manually set the precision of numbers in your widgets, so that you can show the level of detail appropriate for your dashboard.

If needed, you can also override our automatic settings for what abbreviation and unit to show.

Abbreviation, Decimal Places and Unit are part of the "Fine-tune" settings

Abbreviation: Numbers can be shown in their raw state, or as Thousands (K), Millions (M), or Billions (B).

Unit: Allows you to manually enter any prefix or suffix up to 3 characters long. This means if you’d prefer to display your currency differently to our default option you now can. As examples you might want Swedish Krona to show as 100 Kr instead of SEK 100, or New Zealand Dollars to just have the $.

 

 

 

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API and integrations

API

You can build Geck-o-Meters using the API (custom widgets).

For detailed information on how to display a Geck-o-Meter using custom widgets, please visit our Developer Documentation

Integrations

The Geck-o-Meter visualization is available for most pre-built integrations. Notably, for the Spreadsheets and Salesforce ones.

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