Confluence is Atlassian’s market-leading, wiki-based document collaboration platform. It’s designed for teams in nearly any discipline — from software development to sales, marketing, and beyond. It lets users author wiki pages and share them, along with attachments of externally produced documents and files of any type.

But Confluence is more than a platform to store designs, tech notes and other documents; it wants to be the hub of information for your teams and the single source of truth that team members can rely on to research a question or get the latest version of a document.

Which is why Confluence is the perfect location for dynamic team dashboards, even if its tools are mostly optimized to manage more static documentation pages.

A good team dashboard is anything but a static document; it’s about promoting timely, even real-time, information — the kind of real-time information required to keep everyone in sync and focused.

However, built-in Confluence dashboards – the first page every user sees on login to a particular space – can be taken far beyond their simple default functions and turned into dynamic, real-time team portals if you’ve got the right strategy and the right app.

How native Confluence dashboards work

The default Confluence dashboard is also the default landing page for users on login, although your admin can designate any page as the starting point after authentication.

The dashboard offers quick links to recently used spaces and pages, and a column your administrator can customize with text. As a convenient page of likely links, it’s convenient. As the central ‘go to’ repository of team information, it’s lacking.

A typical layout looks like this:

You can add announcements in the upper right if you have admin permissions, but without getting into page scripting, customization options don’t extend much beyond that.

The limitation on customization means Confluence users often just create their own central team dashboard using a regular wiki page and some choice widgets.

That’s doable even if you only use built-in Confluence features, but by leveraging the right apps you can take those dashboards from good to great, animating urgent info, automatically including selected content from other pages, dynamically filtering content based on user group affiliation, and displaying ticket information from Jira.

Elevating Confluence with Custom Dashboards

When you’re ready to take your dashboards to the next level of both polish and utility, the Atlassian marketplace can help you get there. The marketplace is the secret sauce for extending native Confluence in all kinds of ways, and it offers numerous apps that can be used in combination to help integrate information from external sources.

The Custom Dashboards for Confluence app

Not everyone wants to take on the page scripting and admin-level configuration required to customize the native dashboard. The ideal foundation for a more evolved dashboard, and that’s where Custom Dashboard for Confluence app comes in. And not just because of the secret ‘Dilbert’ option.

The app lets you replace the default global dashboard with a custom one defined on a simple wiki page, with no coding required. Plus you don’t have to rely on a Confluence admin for designs or updates.

Its built-in filter system lets you define and stack multiple rules to help both limit access and customize dashboards for individual people and teams.

Because the Custom Dashboard app uses a regular wiki page, you have complete control of the layout and format. That means you have the ability to combine other available page elements, including built-in Confluence widgets and macros from the Atlassian marketplace to build unlimited dashboards. The app even includes additional macros for displaying popular pages or the daily Dilbert strip.

Custom dashboards features:

  • Replace the default global dashboard with a custom one defined on a simple wiki page;
  • Create unique dashboards for each team;
  • Limit access to the global dashboard by defining filter rules for selected users and groups;
  • Personal dashboards allow users to create personal dashboards;
  • Dilbert is built right in. Display the daily Dilbert strip on your custom dashboard.

The custom dash

More options and control. Tailored to match the unique requirements of each team. Team members can even make their own custom dash.

Access control

Filter Select dashboard variants dynamically, using multiple rules with customizable priority.

Dilbert

For proper maintenance of morale, esprit d’core, and to set a general tone of excellence, you can always employ a highly-educated team of HR professionals.

But if that’s not in the budget, consider deploying the Custom Dashboards Dilbert option. It offers many of the same benefits and is included free in the plugin. Like horoscopes, Dilbert can come uncannily close to reality.

It’s a cool bonus feature but whether or not you use it, Custom Dashboards is a solid foundation for building your dashboard, and a platform to add other widgets.

Other components to enhance your dashboards

With the Custom Dashboards app in place, you have free reign to mix and match the indicators, displays, and integrations using both built-in Confluence gadgets and the Atlassian marketplace apps as you see fit.

The key to elevating the effectiveness of Confluence pages lies in using the right combination of apps to match your needs.

Start by defining your requirements. Who is your audience? What do you want them to see on their dashboard? What is urgent and what is important for them? What details routinely fall through the cracks in project communication.

Consider displaying elements like these:

  • Jira Issues
  • Jira burndown charts
  • Bitbucket alerts
  • Most recent blog posts
  • Team announcements
  • Roadmaps
  • Blog Posts

Think about each bit of critical information you need to communicate with the team. Chances are, there’s a macro for it. The sections below talk about some of the most useful plugins to leverage in your custom dashboard.

Dashboard components — Polls for Confluence

Consider the Polls for Confluence app to take the hassle out of making team decisions and get quick feedback from the group on short notice. Display results in real-time on the dashboard.

Polls for Confluence offers simple tools for making those decisions both inclusive and efficient, with pop-up polls you can configure at a moment’s notice and embed right in your dashboard page. The app enhances team participation and engagement, encourages active participation and promotes transparency.

Streamlining group decisions and gathering feedback on a regular basis minimizes workflow disruption and keeps things running smoothly. It contributes to true team agility.

  • Create yes/no, multiple-choice, or free-form polls.
  • Calendar-based poll helps find win-win meeting times that work for everyone.
  • A sensible set of options for presentation and reporting.

Configure attributes at a moments notice and launch polls quickly:

Polls for Confluence is a simple tool to build consensus, make decisions with agility and speed.

Dashboard components: News Teaser

Elevating timely, mission-critical information above the noise of less urgent text is part of the whole reason for dashboards in the first place.

The News Teaser app animates information delivery, leveraging the same kind of display behaviors favored by modern media. The dynamic displays help ensure greater reinforcement and the kind of repetition and animation that not only proactively presents important messages to your staff, but makes them stick.

  • News Teaser is really a bundle of multiple macros to deliver a whole set of unique presentation styles — a customizable frame of scrolling headlines, Pinterest-style tiles, fade transitions.
  • Pull data dynamically from blog posts, Confluence pages, or manual text entered directly into the macro.
  • Supports images and full Confluence text formatting options.
  • Selectively pull content from other pages based on Confluence labels or when they were created.

Blog posts from other pages can be dynamically displayed in the News Teaser frame:

News Teaser works with Cloud, Server, and Data Center deployments.

Dashboard components: Image Slider

While you can embed visual content in your dashboard or pages right out of the box, none of the native Confluence tools or widgets let you package and present content with quite the dynamism of a slide-show.

The Image Slider app. It installs easily in your server or cloud instance and provides a simple forms-based UI that lets users customize the size, content, and speed of presentation, along with numerous other details.

The Image Slider helps you get the message across in a dashboard, but you can re-use it on other pages too, focusing your Confluence users on the most urgent and important information, for your team, your prospects, and your existing customers — screenshots from the new release, images from the latest print ad, or any images you want to promote.

And not just images, but nearly any content that can be composed in the Confluence editor can be presented on a slide in the show.

That’s because Image Slider is implemented as two distinct macros:

  • Image Slider—A straightforward way to rotate through image-based slides, on a timer, or by letting the user do it manually.
  • Content Slider—Compose slides using the same elements you build the Confluence page itself.

The macros are also mobile compatible, fully responsive, and touch-enabled with keyboard navigation support.

Dashboard components: Atlassian widgets

Plenty of the built-in Confluence widgets let you integrate information from other components in the Atlassian ecosystem. Information from Jira and Bitbucket can be easily brought into your Confluence dashboard to further reduce the need for team members to pivot among tools.

Decisions

Team members can’t afford to miss key changes in schedule, architecture, and priorities. Dashboards are the perfect setting for drawing attention to them. The built-in Confluence decision macro can be embedded directly in your dashboard.

Jira Sprint Metrics

Teams using Jira in an agile sprint context shouldn’t have to pivot from Confluence just to track KPIs. Built-in macros let you display things like burndown charts.

Jira Issue Metrics

Teams using Jira in a help desk or more continuous delivery context can display issue-based Jira statistics.

The bottom line

With Confluence at the hub of document and information sharing, it doesn’t matter whether your team discipline is software, HR, data science, marketing, or sales; with a quality dashboard at the center of that hub, you can keep every team member in sync by pushing the most urgent and important information above the noise.

With the Custom Dashboards for Confluence app,, you have a solid foundation you can customize by selectively stacking other macros on top.

Last updated: 2022-11-22

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