Close this search box.

Modern legacy: dashboards

Although modern technology keeps moving forward at high speed, there are still plenty of legacy solutions and symbols that are resilient enough to stand the test of time. Like digital equivalents of living fossils, they have managed to survive the disruptive effect of technological innovation and still thrive in highly modern IT-environments.

In this series, we will take a closer look at some legacy icons that are still present in our modern times. This article will focus on an important part of many applications and IT systems: the dashboard.


Dashboards came along with the advent of modern technology, right? Guess again. The term “dashboard” actually dates back to the less noisy times when people still used to travel by horse-drawn carriage and motorized vehicles still belonged in the realm of science fiction. This early version of the dashboard was merely a protective wooden board that prevented the driver from being splashed with dirt that dashed-up from the horses’ hooves.

Car dashboards

When modern cars appeared on the roads and became mass-produced items, the simple dashboard was retained to protect occupants from debris thrown up by the cars’ front wheels. However, as car design evolved to position the motor in front of the driver, the dashboard became a panel that protected vehicle occupants from the heat and oil of the engine. With gradually increasing mechanical complexity, this panel also formed a convenient location for the placement of gauges and many control functions, making the dashboard a modern instrument panel that retained its archaic common name.

Dashboards in IT

From cars, the term dashboard also found its way to the world of IT. The IT version of a dashboard sort of mimics the instrument panel in a car and handily displays various types of visual information, taken from different sources, in one place. Dashboards are useful across different industries and verticals because they’re highly customizable.

They can include data of all sorts with varying date ranges to help you understand: what happened, why it happened, what may happen, and what actions you should take. In recent years, many legacy dashboards have been upgraded or replaced by better ones, but even the highly modern dashboards still carry the name that is derived from the pre-industrial days of horse-and-carriage transport.