Stop competing and start leading: A user experience case study.

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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.

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Stop competing and start leading: A user experience case study.

  1. 1. THE PORTAL ORIGINAL HOSTING’S customers weren’t using the HOSTING portal to manage their virtual servers. Why not?
  2. 2. a mess of links, tables, words, and numbers buried links in an organizational maze multiple navigational menus
  3. 3. ignored news and alerts confusing fee attribution
  4. 4. THE PORTAL REDESIGN For immediate ROI we redesigned the information architecture and the look of the portal.
  5. 5. SOLUTIONS SERVICES TICKETS BILLING TRENDS TICKETSC U S T O M E R P O R T A L David H.Support Open Tickets Last Updated Status This Month Timeframe Anyone Submitted by (ICBM) [DAL01] restore campus db1 [DAL01] PAR not working for anyone on overnights Hosting.com Solution For: Look Cinemas - #H224197 Open Open Open Subject Status 23 min ago Yesterday Jan 1 Create Ticket Export Tickets simpler navigation filtering options
  6. 6. SOLUTIONS SERVICES TICKETS BILLING TRENDS MANAGE USERSC U S T O M E R P O R T A L David H.Support Name Hide Disabled Users Active / Admin Active Active Active Active Active Active Active Active Active Disabled System Admin Controller DBA Developer Contractor System Admin Today Feb 2, 2013 Yesterday 3 days ago Jan 13, 2013 - - - Today Dec 12, 2012 May 17, 2012 Jan 13, 2013 May 1, 2012 Status Title / Position Last Login Adam Welsh Brandon Meardon Brandon Smith Cameron Wood Dave Malone Debra Messig Jim Kerrigan Michelle Knowles Scott Brennan Steve Brown Tera Gall Create User 1 of 15 NextPrev 1 of 15 NextPrev cleaner design
  7. 7. THE PORTAL INNOVATION After success in the short term, we took the portal beyond merely competing with other portals. We created the leading portal experience in the virtualization industry.
  8. 8. Hex Dashboard WWW SQL AD WWW SQL FW SRCH EML SRCH WWW SQL SQL AD SQL IMIS SQL SQL SQL SQL WWW SQL SRCH WEBSITE - PROD IMIS - DEV JOHN KIPLING - DEV WWW SQL SQL IMIS WEBSITE - EXP objects instead of lists visual server status
  9. 9. Solution View WEBSITE - EXP $120/MO WWW denver.server-h-194 6G RAM SQL sql-thorton 8G RAM SQL sql-thorton-2 8G RAM IMIS imis-2-stl 8G RAM Configuring... est. 3 minutes Duplicate this solution + $120/MO Park this solution - $110/MO View billing Create a PDF spec sheet Add a server progressive details as needed navigation appears where it is meaningful
  10. 10. Server View WWW SQL IMIS imis-2-stl 8G RAM imis-2-stl OS Architecture Linux 64-bit 99.9999% uptime RAM 8 G RAM in use CPU 7.9 G Dual-coreCPU IMIS - DEV solution INSTALLED SOFTWARE intuitive object management
  11. 11. Solution name... Choose a purpose... Ordering WWW SQL AD WWW SQL FW SRCH EML SRCH WWW SQL SQL AD SQL IMIS SQL SQL SQL SQL WWW SQL SRCH WEBSITE - PROD $145/MO IMIS - DEV $235/MO J.KIPLING - DEV $10/MO SHAREPOINT CREATE SOLUTIONCREATE SOLUTION EXPERIMENTAL Experimental (EXP) Development (DEV) Test (TEST) Production (PROD) Add a server Delete this solution SHAREPOINT - EXP easily understood fee attribution

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