dnsAnyone who deals with SolarWinds on a regular basis knows that we value our users and their opinions very highly. We pay a lot of attention to our online community (meaning thwack, where we are now) for user input. So, it's no surprise that thwack has been a great source for UX feedback. In this ongoing series of how our users directly impact the look and feel of our products, I wanted to share a case from DNSstuff.


Recently, we redesigned the DNSReport Tool results page. This is the most used, flagship tool in DNSstuff. It provides 55 tests that give a full diagnostic health check of any domain from an external view.  The report is comprehensive, and providing this information in an easily digestabile form is vital to it being useful to end users.


Here is the original:


Our objective was to take this format and improve on it, making it even easier to understand and use. One goal in particular was to make it easy to see how many issues the domain has in each area. We came up with this, and we asked users what they thought about it on the DNSstuff forum.




They didn't like it. Even though it may "look" better from a design perspective, it quickly became clear that we missed the mark from a functionality and usefullness perspective. Here are a few comments. We appreciate users who get to the point, so no one's feelings were hurt at the directness in these comments:


"the new is terrible

the old was much better

better overlook in the old

the new is like finding the needle in a haystack"




"This is making me do more work. Please bring the old one back. If you have the will, you could provide a link to the old one, and you'll know you're successful when people shift over to the new one on their own." (This comment came with a lot of very specific feedback on what wasn't working in the new design.)




"We would often print the old format report before going in to a prospective client pitch meeting.  The lack of color was great because the yellow and red color blotches let everyone focus right away on the problem areas and the technical detail was right there too.  With the new report format we actually have to read each section to figure out whether there is a problem or not -- and then we take a yellow highlighter to the printed copy to mark which areas need attention."



This is just a small sample of the excellent feedback we received in this thread. The end result - we understood so much more about what our users needed and wanted from this report, and we were able to design something that worked even better than what the old site offered.


Here's the end result.




This report actually looks better *and* works better. We also learned a lot about how DNSstuff users are working with this report on a day to day basis. The users like the changes, and we got a lot of positive feedback on the improvements. We love getting feedback of all kinds (and kind words are always appreciated!) The whole excercise was fun, interesting, and a win/win for everyone.



Read the previous post in this series.