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Rob Clark, UX Director as Aspenware, presented on the topic of leading versus competing at Oracle CloudWorks in San Francisco. In this presentation Rob discussed the recent redesign of HOSTING's customer portal. When designing the customer experience for HOSTING Rob took the approach that it was not good enough to merely improve the customer experience, the team had the opportunity to create a competitive advantage for HOSTING if they completely re-imagined the experience.
In the first category of slides we see the original portal for Hosting, a Denver virtualization company on par with Rackspace and Amazon Cloud. Note that the design is full of tables, lists, numbers, words, and links. Most tasks took several clicks to reach, some as many as 8 or 9 clicks. It was slow, and many screens took over a minute to load. The experience was so painful that most customers called Hosting’s support staff and had them click through the screens to fulfill their requests rather than using the system themselves.
Hosting asked us to redesign the system with a focus on performance, simpler information architecture, and beauty. The second category of slides shows the redesign. It resulted in screens that generally took less than seven seconds to load, and most were sub-three-second load times. Most tasks became within reach in less than three clicks, and the look matched existing branding and became simpler and flatter. It was a huge success.
Then Hosting returned to us, asking for a second redesign, one that did something innovative and new. They wanted to break free of the pack and leave the competition in the dust. The third category of slides shows the result. Lists and tables and words and numbers became objectified. We made every single activity available within three views that became progressively more detailed as needed. We used colors, shapes, and layout to create instant recognition of meaning and status throughout the system, and designed something that would grow well with change. Hosting was ecstatic, and the design implementation began. It has been a sea change for their customers and created an upheaval in their vertical, with their competitors now challenged to keep up.