Sound enabled SAP Dashboard model
Fridays always are the days on which a funny moment can pop up. This also was the case at one of my customers where I’m hired for my SAP BusinessObjects BI expertise. Since the EURO2012 soccer championship is near and every department has their own ‘betting’ poules, I suggested that it might be fun to build a funny EURO2012 dashboard in SAP Dashboard Design to show which colleagues were doing great and which weren’t. This was the beginning of something really funny.
I came up with the idea of a dashboard showing the match schedule, ranking of colleagues for the poule, but also some funny elements like a live twitter feed and sound board. The sound board would offer the possibility to show a picture and play some funny quotes from colleagues. I’m sure you can come up with some quotes from your own buddies.The idea was received as very cool, but now I just had to think how to build it. It took me quite some experimenting and thinking, but in the end the solution was quite simple.
Sound in a meaningful way
Of course the EURO2012 dashboard is a funny application of sound in a dashboard but from a User Experience design perspective, there can be very useful applications of sound in dashboards. What about a voice over for the most important functionalities? Or a played sound alert, in addition to a color code alert, if something really critical is going on? Or perhaps for users that suffer from colour blindness or have trouble seeing things in general. I’m convinced that there are scenario’s in which sound can be useful. Of course, your design should be sound independent but it can add extra value.
The biggest challenge was how to integrate music files, for example MP3, inside my SWF file. Of course I could integrate my dashboard in a HTML site which exists out of multiple containers. For example one container for the dashboard and one for the sound play controls etc. But I wanted to integrate the whole functionality in a single dashboard.
So I wanted to record voice (MP3) and integrate it in my SWF file or activate it from within my SWF file. At first sight I was thinking about using a URL button or connection to trigger the sound files. But quite fast I realized that it would probably be possible to convert MP3 to SWF. Than all I had to do is import the SWF object inside my dashboard using the SWF loader or Image component.
That should work right?
How to do this?
Step 1: Find a tool to convert audio (e.g. MP3) to SWF
I searched Google and the Hoo Technologies converter. It’s plain simple and does exactly what I wanted to do. It even has a ‘record’ function from which you can directly record and convert your soundbites. The limitation is that in the trial version it only converts the first 60% of your sound clip. The simple solution of course, is to add some emptiness in the last part of your sound clip.
After the conversion, multiple files are created, including .WAV files. The only file you need is the .SWF file. The sound is included in this file.
Step 2: Create a dashboard and import the SWF sound files
Just create a dashboard model or open an existing and add the image component. This component supports SWF files (not xcelsius) and creates a nice play control object. After it’s imported, you can preview and test the result.
Perhaps you expected the solution would be more complex but like many times, the most time is consumed by figuring out what’s the best way to realize this. The play control button starts playing as soon as the dashboard is loaded. This might be not what you’re looking for.
I noticed that if you include the SWF file in a dynamic visibility enabled canvas container, the play control object will start playing only when the object is visible. This means you could make a button that controls the visibility of the player component (which could be made 100% transparent) and with that the exact starting moment for the sound.
I wish you good luck with the implementation of this cool feature. If you come up with some interesting designs or applications (funny is also interesting) please share them with me.
That’s all for now folks!
- SAP Lumira Cloud: My first impressions
- There’s only room for one Y-axis
- Data Visualization poster – 8 tips for an effective dashboard
- How to create a loading screen for SAP Dashboards
- SAP Dashboards SP05: first impressions on mobile HTML5 functionality
- SAP BusinessObjects official maintenance schedule
- SAP Dashboards HTML5 export preview on November 13th
- SAP Dashboards: Visually supporting KPI score comparison
- Does “SAP Design Studio” live up to its name?
- Xcelsius print button error: bars and lines are not shown