here is a screenshot of a dashboard, i'm using a simple grid framework + a free admin theme (AdminLTE 2) + masonry for the 'widgets'; i use 3-4 types of widgets, one is a set of shortcuts which is configurable to show on different users, or access levels; this allows individual users to have their own custom set of shortcuts if needed. The other types of widgets are a mini lister, and a formbuilder list; The formbuilder list can display recent submissions to various forms, and is helpful for admins who want to see a quick overview of recent submissions.  
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