Help us optimize the EMC Store

UXD team

UXD team

This blog brings together user experience managers and practitioners from all of the divisions to let you know what’s going on with software and web design, and to gather your feedback. I’m Mary Beth Raven, and I’ll be one of the primary bloggers. I’m the director of user experience design (UXD) for the Advanced Software Division. Other bloggers on the team include, but are not limited to, the following people: Josh Hill of EMC.COM Jorge Borges of RSA Bruce Rabe in the Unified Storage Division (USD) Elaine McCann in Enterprise Storage division (ESD)

If you are coming to EMC world, you can help us optimize the EMC Store to support your needs. Come to the Design & Usability Lab in Sands 201 to provide your opinion on the latest Store designs, and the types of products, bundles, and solutions you’d find most useful to include in the Store. (30 mins.)

  • Target Users: IT Administrators, Storage Architects, Engineers, IT Directors, Procurement Managers, or any IT professional who is responsible for researching new products, recommending purchase decisions, or purchasing products.

You can schedule a session in advance — send an email to EMCUsabilityTesting@Emc.com with  the name of the session (“Store”) and the time you’d like to schedule it. The Design & Usability Lab is open 9-5 Monday through Wednesday and 9-noon on Thursday.

 

Simplifying the VMAX Management Experience

UXD team

UXD team

This blog brings together user experience managers and practitioners from all of the divisions to let you know what’s going on with software and web design, and to gather your feedback. I’m Mary Beth Raven, and I’ll be one of the primary bloggers. I’m the director of user experience design (UXD) for the Advanced Software Division. Other bloggers on the team include, but are not limited to, the following people: Josh Hill of EMC.COM Jorge Borges of RSA Bruce Rabe in the Unified Storage Division (USD) Elaine McCann in Enterprise Storage division (ESD)

If you are coming to EMC World, come to the Design and Usability Lab in Sands 201 to  take a closer look at some of the upcoming VMAX improvements, including provisioning based on Service Level Objectives. We welcome your feedback on our journey toward a simplified management experience. (30 or 60 mins. – your choice)

  • Target users: All Administrators, Architects with experience managing VMAX arrays

You can schedule a session in advance — send an email to EMCUsabilityTesting@Emc.com with  the name of the session (“VMAX”) and the time you’d like to schedule it. The Design & Usability Lab is open 9-5 Monday through Wednesday and 9-noon on Thursday.

Map to the Design & Usability Lab

Map to the Design & Usability Lab

Help Us Design the Future of Unisphere!

UXD team

UXD team

This blog brings together user experience managers and practitioners from all of the divisions to let you know what’s going on with software and web design, and to gather your feedback. I’m Mary Beth Raven, and I’ll be one of the primary bloggers. I’m the director of user experience design (UXD) for the Advanced Software Division. Other bloggers on the team include, but are not limited to, the following people: Josh Hill of EMC.COM Jorge Borges of RSA Bruce Rabe in the Unified Storage Division (USD) Elaine McCann in Enterprise Storage division (ESD)

If you are coming to EMC World, please join us in the Design & Usability lab in Sands 201 to participate in usability reviews of the Unisphere GUI for VNX Family. Your feedback will supply our development teams with insights that will help us design the right dashboard, navigation methods, and views of data protection and performance/analytics.(60 min)

  • Target Users: Storage and SAN Administrators, Architects, and Managers

You can schedule a session in advance — send an email to EMCUsabilityTesting@Emc.com with  the name of the session (“Unisphere for VNX”) and the time you’d like to schedule it. The Design & Usability Lab is open 9-5 Monday through Wednesday and 9-noon on Thursday.

Map to the Design & Usability Lab

Map to the Design & Usability Lab

Interact with the Next Generation EMC Data Domain Management Solution

UXD team

UXD team

This blog brings together user experience managers and practitioners from all of the divisions to let you know what’s going on with software and web design, and to gather your feedback. I’m Mary Beth Raven, and I’ll be one of the primary bloggers. I’m the director of user experience design (UXD) for the Advanced Software Division. Other bloggers on the team include, but are not limited to, the following people: Josh Hill of EMC.COM Jorge Borges of RSA Bruce Rabe in the Unified Storage Division (USD) Elaine McCann in Enterprise Storage division (ESD)

Going to EMC World?

Come to the Design & Usability Lab in Sands 201 to Interact with the next generation EMC Data Domain management solution in practical scenario-based sessions, to provide operational and usability feedback to members of the design and development teams (30 min).

  • Target Users: Storage Administrators, Data Protection Managers and those in similar roles responsible for managing storage across Data Centers and/or multiple Remote Sites.

You can schedule a session in advance — send an email to EMCUsabilityTesting@Emc.com with  the name of the session and the time you’d like to schedule it. The Design & Usability Lab is open 9-5 Monday through Wednesday and 9-noon on Thursday.

Map to the Design & Usability Lab

Map to the Design & Usability Lab

Give Us Feedback on Storage Resource Management at EMC World

UXD team

UXD team

This blog brings together user experience managers and practitioners from all of the divisions to let you know what’s going on with software and web design, and to gather your feedback. I’m Mary Beth Raven, and I’ll be one of the primary bloggers. I’m the director of user experience design (UXD) for the Advanced Software Division. Other bloggers on the team include, but are not limited to, the following people: Josh Hill of EMC.COM Jorge Borges of RSA Bruce Rabe in the Unified Storage Division (USD) Elaine McCann in Enterprise Storage division (ESD)

If you are going to EMC world this year, please make some time to visit us at the Design and Usability lab in Sands 201 to give us feedback about Storage Resource Management.

Participate in usability reviews of concepts for future versions of SRM Suite. Give us your feedback on capacity dashboards and other views, navigation, and graphical maps. (60 min).

  • Target UsersStorage and SAN Administrators, Architects, and Managers

You can schedule a session in advance. Send an email to EMCUsabilityTesting@Emc.com with  the name of the session (“SRM”) and the time you’d like to schedule it. The Design & Usability Lab is open 9-5 Monday through Wednesday and 9-noon on Thursday.

Here’s how

Map to the Design & Usability Lab

Map to the Design & Usability Lab

to find the Design and Usability Lab:

 

Going to EMC World? Make time to give us some design feedback!

UXD team

UXD team

This blog brings together user experience managers and practitioners from all of the divisions to let you know what’s going on with software and web design, and to gather your feedback. I’m Mary Beth Raven, and I’ll be one of the primary bloggers. I’m the director of user experience design (UXD) for the Advanced Software Division. Other bloggers on the team include, but are not limited to, the following people: Josh Hill of EMC.COM Jorge Borges of RSA Bruce Rabe in the Unified Storage Division (USD) Elaine McCann in Enterprise Storage division (ESD)

If you are going to EMC world this year, please make some time to visit us at the Design and Usability lab in Sands 201.  We will be conducting a variety of  usability feedback sessions. You can schedule a session in advance — take a look at the list of sessions below and send an email to EMCUsabilityTesting@Emc.com with  the name of the session and the time you’d like to schedule it. The Design & Usability Lab is open 9-5 Monday through Wednesday and 9-noon on Thursday.

Map to the Design & Usability Lab

Map to the Design & Usability Lab

Choose from the following 6 sessions:

Data Domain Management Center
Interact with the next generation EMC Data Domain
management solution in practical scenario based
sessions, to provide operational and usability feedback
to members of the design and development teams (30 min).

  • Target Users: Storage Administrators, Data Protection Managers and those in similar roles responsible for managing storage across Data Centers and/or multiple Remote Sites.

Unisphere for VNX Family
Help us design the future of Unisphere!
Participate in usability reviews of the Unisphere GUI for
VNX Family. Your feedback will supply our
development teams with insights that will help us
design the right dashboard, navigation methods, and
views of data protection and performance/analytics.(60 min)

  • Target Users: Storage and SAN Administrators, Architects, and Managers

Simplifying the VMAX management experience

Take a closer look at some of the upcoming VMAX improvements, including provisioning based on Service Level Objectives. We welcome your feedback on our journey toward a simplified management experience. (30 or 60 mins. – your choice)

  • Target users: All Administrators, Architects with experience managing VMAX arrays

Data Protection as a Service
Solution Validation: Engage in discussions to provide
input and validation on our next generation DPaaS
solution. (60 mins.)

Persona & Task Validation: Provide input and validation
on our next generation DPaaS solution including topics
such as personas, top priority tasks and flows, your
environment and mobile applications. (45 mins.)

Hands On UI Session: Participate in a hands on session
using iPad and desktop prototypes reviewing UI
components. (30 mins.)

EMC Store
Help us optimize the EMC Store to support your needs.
Provide your opinion on the latest Store designs, and the
types of products, bundles, and solutions you’d find
most useful to include in the Store. (30 mins.)

  • Target Users: IT Administrators, Storage Architects, Engineers, IT Directors, Procurement Managers, or any IT professional who is responsible for researching new products, recommending purchase decisions, or purchasing products.

Storage Resource Management (SRM) Suite
Participate in usability reviews of concepts for future
versions of SRM Suite. Give us your feedback on
capacity dashboards and other views, navigation, and graphical maps. (60 min).

  • Target Users: Storage and SAN Administrators, Architects, and Managers

And if you cannot make it to EMC World this year, you can still impact future products – register to be a usability tester at http://www.emc.com/usability

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you at EMC World!

We want your feedback on these “group” icons!

UXD team

UXD team

This blog brings together user experience managers and practitioners from all of the divisions to let you know what’s going on with software and web design, and to gather your feedback. I’m Mary Beth Raven, and I’ll be one of the primary bloggers. I’m the director of user experience design (UXD) for the Advanced Software Division. Other bloggers on the team include, but are not limited to, the following people: Josh Hill of EMC.COM Jorge Borges of RSA Bruce Rabe in the Unified Storage Division (USD) Elaine McCann in Enterprise Storage division (ESD)

Choosing icons that communicate effectively can be a tricky process.

This blog post provides 3 options for one tricky icon situation for the SRM Suite. We’d like to hear from you on which option you prefer and why.

We are wrapping up the design for a new grouping feature for SRM Suite. This feature will allow you to create groups of devices. In our design, the groups appear in the left pane. The contents of the selected group appear in the right pane.

Groups can be nested, so a group can contain devices and subgroups. For example, in the mockup below, the group “ABC App” contains virtual machines, hosts, and a subgroup called “Chicago”.

GroupBlocks

Groups can contain devices and subgroups

The Problem..or is it?

We are not providing any indicators showing when a group contains subgroups. Our first question for you is – Do you NEED to know when a group contains subgroups? Is this a problem for you when the group is closed?  For example, “System Groups” contains subgroups, but you cannot tell this by looking at it.

How should we solve this problem? We came up with a few possible solutions.

Option 1

Option 1 is to add expansion triangles to groups that contain subgroups. The triangles show the expansion state, expanded or closed.

Options 1: Expansion arrows

Options 1: Expansion arrows with the group icon

This approach clearly shows when a group has subgroups. However, some may feel that the group icon  is meaningless and adds useless clutter.

Option 2

In Option 2, we eliminate clutter by removing the group icons and show only expansion triangles.

Option 2: Group arrows without the group icon

Option 2: Group arrows without the group icon

This approach is in sync with the current trend towards minimalism. There are no icons to interfere with mental processing. However, now we have a new problem. We use the exact same approach in our navigation pane. In your opinion, will it be confusing if the group pane looks exactly the like the navigation pane, except for the background color? Does this approach provide enough visual differentiation to make it clear that managing groups is different from navigating from one system page to another? Option 2 is shown below in the context of navigation.

Option 2 in context with the navigation pane

Option 2 in context with the navigation pane

For comparison, the mockup below shows Option 1 in context with the navigation pane.

Option 1 in context of the navigation pane

Option 1 in context of the navigation pane

You could think of Option 1 like this: navigation takes me to system pages, while the group pane is where I create and manage these blocky things.

Option 3

You might be wondering, why not use the traditional folder icon? After all, a group can contain devices and subgroups, just like a folder can contain files and subfolders. We have traditionally used the folder icon to represent file systems; therefore, we wanted to pick a different concept to use for groups.

If we decided to ignore historical precedence and use folder icons after all, it would look like this:

Option 3: Folder icons

Option 3: Folder icons

For comparison with the other options, here is Option 3 in context with the navigation pane:

Option 3 in context with the navigation pane

Option 3 in context with the navigation pane

Do you think that this approach looks too much like Windows Explorer, and not like groups of devices?

What would you do?

What option would you choose? Option 1, Option 2, Option 3, or do you have a better idea? Add a comment to let us know!

SRM Suite 3.0 Release: Why and How We Re-Designed the Navigation Tree

UXD team

UXD team

This blog brings together user experience managers and practitioners from all of the divisions to let you know what’s going on with software and web design, and to gather your feedback. I’m Mary Beth Raven, and I’ll be one of the primary bloggers. I’m the director of user experience design (UXD) for the Advanced Software Division. Other bloggers on the team include, but are not limited to, the following people: Josh Hill of EMC.COM Jorge Borges of RSA Bruce Rabe in the Unified Storage Division (USD) Elaine McCann in Enterprise Storage division (ESD)

 One piece of the puzzle

The SRM Suite navigation tree is one part of the overall navigation model.  Other pieces of the puzzle include search, drilldown, hyperlinks, and having multiple views or instances open simultaneously.

As you probably know, the SRM Suite 3.0 user interface is based on the EMC acquisition of Watch4Net (W4N). The original W4N platform was focused on reporting.  Now that this platform will be used as a base for SRM and SAS Suites, it will support a much broader set of use cases.

At EMC World 2013, we did usability testing on the SRM Suite.  We asked users to find the SRM Suite Block Capacity dashboard:

SRM 3.0 Dashboard

SRM 3.0 Dashboard

 

Because it was buried so far down in the tree, 9 out of 10 participants needed help finding it.

Thus, we reorganized the navigation tree to support the way our primary users, such as Joe the Storage Admin and Andy the Network Admin, do their work.  The top level categories (Dashboard, Explore, Operations, Planning, Report Library) are general enough that they can be used across products such as SRM and Service Assurance Suite, while still providing meaningful categories for the views and functions, as you can see in the following screen shot:

SRM 3.0 Tree

SRM 3.0 Tree

 

Now, for example, there’s a Dashboard folder right at the top level, where users said they’d like to see it.  If Joe the Storage Admin also happens to have the Service Assurance Suite installed, he’ll see a set of Network dashboards as well as his Storage dashboards.

House of cards

This information architecture isn’t new.  We started with the organization that UXD researched and designed for ProSphere, where the areas were the high level categories of use cases.  Other EMC products, such as UniSphere, use a similar structure.

We validated our proposed tree structure with our SRM Design Partners, asking them to perform card sorts – placing views into categories that made sense to them, as shown in the following picture.  This helped us understand where views should be, and which views should be together.

Using a card sort to help organize the tree

Using a card sort to help organize the tree

The navigation model in SRM Suite is evolving.  The information architecture described above is designed to move easily into  new frameworks, by limiting the top level categories and the depth of the tree.  If you use SRM 3.0 we would like your feedback on whether you find this new tree more usable and why or why not.

Please feel free to leave a reply or to email us at EMCUsabilityTesting@EMC.Com

Do you use EMC Smarts? Did you change the color scheme from the default new colors?

UXD team

UXD team

This blog brings together user experience managers and practitioners from all of the divisions to let you know what’s going on with software and web design, and to gather your feedback. I’m Mary Beth Raven, and I’ll be one of the primary bloggers. I’m the director of user experience design (UXD) for the Advanced Software Division. Other bloggers on the team include, but are not limited to, the following people: Josh Hill of EMC.COM Jorge Borges of RSA Bruce Rabe in the Unified Storage Division (USD) Elaine McCann in Enterprise Storage division (ESD)

The most recent release of Smarts includes many user interface and usability changes.

We hope you will appreciate the new UI, but we also recognize that UI changes can be disruptive,  To mitigate potential disruption to you, we included some stepping stones to help bridge your move to the new UI.

One stepping stone is the Background Color Selector in the Notifications view. The background colors in the Notifications view help indicate the severity of the notifications listed in the table, such as Critical, Major, or Minor. The old Smarts UI uses bold colors. For the new UI, we use softer colors that reduce eye strain for users who sit in front of the Notifications view for several hours per day. In addition, the new colors match those defined in the Alerting standard of EMC’s Common User Experience standards. As a result, the colors in the new UI are consistent with the colors used in Alerting or Notifications views of other EMC applications that adhere to the standards.

Old Smarts Colors

Old Smarts Colors

New Smarts colots

New Smarts colors

Just in case you find the new colors unacceptable, we provide the Background Color Selector, which lets you choose the old color scheme, the new color scheme, or a color-blind safe color scheme. We also provide the flexibility for you to choose whatever color you want for each of the severities, as shown in the following screenshot of the color selector.

Screenshot of Smarts color ppicker

Smarts Color Picker

Here are our questions for you:

If you’re using the new Smarts UI, did you change the color scheme from the default new colors?

If yes, to what and why?

Are three preset color schemes sufficient or do you need to be able to choose whatever colors you want? IS allowing you to choose your own colors overkill?

How much flexibility do you need as you transition to the new UI?

And whether you use Smarts or not, how important is it that we provide the stepping stones to help bridge your transition to a new UI? Do you prefer to rip the band aid off in one swift motion or ease it off slowly? Let us know!

Thanks,

Pete Kashatus, Smarts User Experience Designer

Bowling and User Experience Design

UXD team

UXD team

This blog brings together user experience managers and practitioners from all of the divisions to let you know what’s going on with software and web design, and to gather your feedback. I’m Mary Beth Raven, and I’ll be one of the primary bloggers. I’m the director of user experience design (UXD) for the Advanced Software Division. Other bloggers on the team include, but are not limited to, the following people: Josh Hill of EMC.COM Jorge Borges of RSA Bruce Rabe in the Unified Storage Division (USD) Elaine McCann in Enterprise Storage division (ESD)

The User Experience team in the Advanced Software Division had a bowling and lunch outing yesterday, and it helped us to understand our user better. Bear with me a bit on this.

When we sit in our offices, surrounded by IT folks, and people who talk in switches, arrays, and LUNs, we tend to forget that sometimes there are NEW users – people new to the domain, whether it’s because they just joined the workforce, or whether it’s because they  moved jobs or combined jobs.

The bowling part? Well, we’ve got a few people who actually OWN a bowling ball in our group, and then we have others who have never bowled at all. Those of us who have bowled before made assumptions– assumption like, nobody talked about walking over to get special bowling shoes.  OR the impact of the weight of the ball. OR where to stand where you start out. Having brand new bowlers reminded us that we need to ensure that we think about things from various perspectives, including new users. Whether that’s bowling ball users or new storage admins.

The Advanced Software  UXD team

The Advanced Software UXD team