I’ve got a question for you: "If Orion were a car, what kind of car would it be?"
We recently asked customers this question during feedback sessions. The responses were quite consistent, and very telling. One user said:
“A Ram 1500 work truck; it’s got lots of compartments for tools but sometimes I just can’t find that wrench I need even though I know it’s in there somewhere! It’s not as luxurious or attractive as some of its competitors”
Agreed - Orion certainly is a workhorse! In addition to comments about the attractiveness of the design, there is a deeper theme in this quote that many other users echoed. We can do better in terms of findability and usability. To address these concerns, we are working on a series of user experience (UX) improvements that we plan to release in addition to our normal features and functionality.
Catching up with the times
As a first step, we've been working to modernize and refresh the UI. While these changes may appear to be a basic facelift, our primary goal is to set the stage for the future.
We focused on a few key areas that we've heard loud and clear from you:
- Minimize space used by the header and make more room for data. The current header takes up a lot of space, the tabs can be difficult to navigate (try hovering over a tab and then clicking on the last item in the menu bar), and that big yellow notification banner? No, thank you. The content on the page should be front-and-center.
- Eliminate visual noise to help you focus on what is important. The current visual design uses a mixture of colors, styles and iconography which are pretty on their own, but make it hard to parse the UI when they are shown all together. Taking a step back, the UI should highlight status, exceeded thresholds and alerts. The big red things should draw your attention.
- Simplify, but support density of information. There is a delicate balance between creating a roomy, clean visual design and showing data in proximity with other necessary pieces of information. Our goal is to stop the "pogo stick" effect, which requires you to jump around the page to find what you need. We haven't fully addressed this issue with the UI refresh, but we have taken baby steps.
You tell us, "If this version of Orion was a car, what kind of car would it be?"
Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day!
We’re putting the final touches on the modern UI, and now we’re kicking off deeper UX improvements. Joel Dolisy, our CTO, recently referenced these efforts during the thwackCamp keynote address (1min 26sec).
Here is a sneak-peek at some the ideas we’re investigating:
- Re-building the front-end using browser UI frameworks and HTML5 - AngularJS, CSS3, and some cool visualization engines for those of your who really want to geek out. Here’s looking at you, wanine39!
- Pulling data from multiple sources to create powerful visualizations. For example, stacking performance metrics on a single timeline for easy correlation (see a conceptual design below).
- Improving user interactions to keep up with excellent browser applications - Google Maps, Photos, etc. More exciting interactions should take our products beyond useful, and in to the realm of delightful.
Become an active partner in UI and UX design
Input from you, our users, has helped to shape the direction we’ve taken. Keep the feedback coming to ensure that we stay on track! There are a couple ways to stay involved:
- Get a sneak peak and share feedback on the UI refresh through the SAM 6.3 beta
- Give us early feedback on ideas, designs and builds by signing up to participate in walkthroughs and feedback sessions with our research team (Hi Kellie!):
SolarWinds Time Machine
And now, for some fun, here's a brief history of the Orion UI! Which is the earliest version that you remember?
Disclaimer: Comments given in this forum should not be interpreted as a commitment that SolarWinds will deliver any specific feature in any particular time frame. All discussions of future plans or product roadmaps are base on the product teams intentions, but those plans can change at any time.