When it comes to running research smoothly, one trick is to verify at least one day ahead of conducting an experiment that you’ve got all the reagents you'll need. Otherwise, you will step into the lab all smiles, put on your lab coat, fresh new latex gloves and bang your head against the wall for not having enough autoclave ddWater or fresh buffers. Or realize someone else scheduled the centrifuge for the whole day. You just need to remember those things in advance, that’s all.
Since it likely happens a lot when you have so many other things on your mind, it would be nice if someone else would do the planning, the remembering and the reminding. I can’t offer a robot to do all this planning, but I can offer a little help from Labguru.
Because the way I see it the problem is to remember both the overdue tasks and the high priority ones - the ones I should start with. This feeling of endlessly trying to keep up with tasks and due dates, and miserably failing to prioritize and see them all to completion, was one of the Labguru team's considerations in designing Labguru’s Dashboard.
The idea of our customizable Dashboard is to get you into business the moment you log in. Don’t remember what you planned to do this week? What you did last week, or even yesterday? What tasks you need to complete? The new Dashboard is here to remind you, and mainly, to put things in order and organize your thoughts and your day-to-day work.
The Dashboard, or the Home tab, wore many forms and shapes as Labguru evolved. Labguru’s modules (like specimens, protocols, and plasmids) continue to add new features every few weeks, and the Dashboard continuously reflects these features. The changes in our Dashboard over the years are a mirror to the changes and updates in Labguru. As Labguru becomes more comprehensive and elaborate, we can offer a more functional dashboard, with features based on Labguru’s functions. Moreover, the number of satisfied customers, who share their feedback with us, is growing all the time, helping us fine-tune the Dashboard to their needs.
Recent Dashboard Improvements
So first, we split the Dashboard into 3 sub-modules - My Dashboard, Lab Activities and the Calendar.
My Dashboard is all about you, the individual researcher. Its focus is on your activities and plans. This additional part of the Dashboard was created in order to help you get started when you log into Labguru each morning, or after an enjoyable weekend. You won’t find it noisy or too crowded with irrelevant information, but rather you’ll only see items you personally added and planned. My Dashboard is like a journal in which you can navigate between dates to check what you did or plan on doing on a certain day. Also you can now ‘quickly add’ items from the Dashboard, such as experiments, notes or events. And the list of tasks makes sure you won’t miss anything you planned to achieve.
In the Lab Activities submodule you can find records of all the latest activities of your lab colleagues, which may be filtered by their names and dates. This submodule is the place to read updates regarding a new image that was uploaded as a result for an experiment you are part of, an interesting new research paper that was attached to a project you work on, or a new antibody that has arrived, how it was diluted and aliquoted, and where it is stored, and etc.
The Calendar submodule is meant for long term planning of your work: scheduling group meetings, shared equipment usage and maintenance, dividing responsibilities of steps in joint experiments, and any other lab activity. The Calendar enables an overview of the current, as well as future, lab work and research projects.
I believe the direction the new Labguru Dashboard took is a big step forward and works for the benefit of everyone in the lab. We think it can still be improved, and we have some thoughts and ideas on how to improve it which will be rolled out in the future.
As always we are keen to hear what you think about these changes and how you see the Dashboard evolving to better suit your needs and workflows. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!