The RightScale Cloud Management dashboard has undergone two major renovations during my time at RightScale. Originally, it was a static page with basic data. Customer feedback showed that our users perceived little value in the data that was displayed, and wanted a view with more customization options.
As one of my first projects as an interaction designer for RightScale, I was asked to design and improved dashboard.
To begin the project, I performed the following:
- Interview key internal stakeholders.
- Competitive review of similar UIs and services (New Relic, Coremetrics, iGoogle).
- Review of previous customer feedback in our product spreadsheet and support system.
- Interview customers to better understand their needs.
- Workshop sessions with our lead UI designer to understand our capabilities.
Once I understood customer needs, I began the design process. The lead UI developer decided to use a language called Liquid to allow our tech-savvy users to customize widgets with their own code, so I needed to ensure that the designs accommodated this functionality.
Elements of the design process included:
- Interactive wireframes built with the Axure RP tool.
- Multiple rounds of review and iteration with internal stakeholders.
- Informal usability tests to quickly gather design feedback on a short timeline.
The widgets dashboard was rolled out to users, but based on feedback it still required some additional tuning. The main issue was that the Liquid language was too restrictive for several of the widgets we needed to build, so we developed a concept of ‘built-in’ widgets which were developed by RightScale and offered more functionality.
In addition, I later designed two widgets for new users to guide them through the RightScale registration process. This was part of a comprehensive redesign for new users.
For information about another dashboard refresh 3 years later, see Dashboard Redesign Phase 2.