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Cloud Database Overview Re-design

Database Overview

Cloud Database service on OCI (Oracle Cloud Infrastructure) console has an overview page. It intends to provide a summary of all resources in the managed environment to database admins. However, current design only gives a total count of the resources, which is not helpful and is barely visited.

 

Design team was asked by our VP to re-design the overview page. Since the people who come up with the original design has left, there is no prior requirement or design documentation to refer to. Working with another designer, we started from user research for this re-design project.

Company/ 

Oracle

 

Role / 

Design Lead

 

Collaboration / 

Designer, PM and Engineers

 

Year / 

July, 2021- Sept, 2021

Overview

Recommendations

Context

Cloud Database Overview Page

OCI console offers several types of database services. Whether is companies that use pure cloud autonomous database, or companies that have compliance policies to follow and want to have hardware in their own data center, they can all find a solution and pay to subscribe one or multiple DB services on OCI. 

 

The overview page is a place where database admins (DBAs) can monitor, and have a high level idea of all the resources in their managed environment. 

Problem Statement

No one Visits Overview Page 

Reasonable the intent sounds, the current overview is not delivered to meet the vision.

Current design

Current design.png

Top section gives a total count of various resources

Middle section provides basic alarms and notifications

Bottom section has health status, releases and documentation links.

Users do not find above information insightful. They either go directly into the service resource listing page, or use other tools to monitor database resources.

In this project, I collaborated with another designer Kristen under my mentorship to revamp the overview page.

Figure out Where to Start

This project does not have a PM or product requirement written for us. The current design can be fully abandoned and does not act as a constraint. This full autonomy we have is both a blessing and a challenge, as it is entirely up to us to figure out what to re-design. 

To start, Kristen and I had a brainstorm meeting and we conclude a few things to do:
- User interviews for generative study
- Co-design session with users 

We do realize finding participants and scheduling interviews can take a few weeks and the timeline is not fully in our control. Not wanting to let that become a blocker, we conducted competitor analysis and created research agenda in parallel while recruiting for participants. 

Research

User Interviews

We talked to 5 internal stakeholders to answer the question we have 

How can overview page become useful?

Validate overview page is rarely visited today
Who will be the primary users of this overview page if it were well-designed.
What information do users want to see in overview if they could change it

Findings

We validated that overview page is rarely used by both external Oracle customers and internal users because it’s not actionable. In particular:

Unable to drill down with existing information

It lacks functionality and information that allow user to drill down and navigate to specific DB

They already know what to look for

Some user already know what they need to do before even logging in to console
I know what the resources are, I know what the name of the database is, so I don’t really come here...

We also learned that primary users of overview page are DBAs. They are managing hundreds of databases at a time and they want to see all high-level information in the same place, rather than being sent to different pages.

 

For them, overview should provide easy to read and actionable information so they can drill-down to specific instance if needed. This information could be around these area:

Health

High level health evaluation, critical alarms on risks and compliance issues (need to be verbose)

Availability

High level environment evaluation scores (SLA), performance, upgrade time

Usage

Capacity tracking and be able to see if any instances under a service is using more than it should

Develop User Stories

Based on the findings, we developed user stories under each category.

Health

As a DBA, I want to be notified when there are critical alerts, see what the alerts are and be able to drill down to the root cause on affected instances.

Availability

As a DBA, I want to an infra inventory summary and be able to know what's in my environment. 

Get an idea on overall SLA score and understand when and why there’s downtime if it happened


I want to be able to see application status and be able to know when there are things go wrong.


I want to know if resources in my environment is up to date.

Usage

As a DBA, I want to have a high level view on infrastructure usage (CPU, storage), as well as a breakdown of the resources by DB instance so I know when to scale up/down when needed for capacity planning.

I want to know which DB instance are exceeding quota limits so I can interfere as needed.

Co-design

After first round of user interviews, we were able to establish connections with a few people from MMA team (Maximum Availability Architecture) whose job is to support customers. So we decided to facilitate an online co-design session where we invited 5 stakeholders to draw and share what they want to see in this overview page.

 

In the end of the session, we got 5 pro sketches and more in-depth, specific feedback on how the overview page should be. 

Jony_Sketch.png

Fleet view, warnings, capacity

Want to see a fleet view of the environment, presented in pie chart, warnings, capacity metrics (storage, CPU)

Kevin_Sketch1.png

Fleet view, DB performance and warnings

Wants to see a high-level summary. see what exists in the RAC (clusters and VMs), and be able to drill down into the DB

Frame 50.png

Bulk operations, DB capacity

Want to do bulk operations, see DB capacity, have easy access to DB connection string

Nilay's sketch.png

Fleet view, DB performance and warnings

Top section shows a fleet view of DBs. presented in a map view like Azure. 
Bottom section shows performance and warnings of DBs in subscribed DB services

Peter_Sketch.png

Many of the findings from this co-design session align with what we found from user interview. Health status, being able to see warnings, performance and usage is a must-have for users. Something new that we learned from seeing the sketches are, users do have expectation on having this info in some form of data visualization, such as charts and map so it’s scannable and easy to understand. 

Concepts and Wireframes

Generate Concepts

With 2 rounds of user research and the findings we have, we created a guideline. In this guideline, it roughly lays out the  information hierarchy based on priorities and it lists out the information that users want to see in the overview page. 

Erin_KPI_Redesign 1.png

Wireframes and Explorations

With 2 rounds of user research and the findings we have, we created a guideline. In this guideline, it roughly lays out the information hierarchy based on priorities and it lists out the information that users want to see in the overview page. 

A top to bottom layout that provides a linear reading experience

A news feed style layout that optimizes for discovering information and does not have a fixed reading order

Design 2.png

We then explored and fleshed them out by adding detailed content. Here are a few explorations I did using top to bottom layout.

Overview.png
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Top section variations

Kristen did a few explorations on news feed style layout, referring to content from the top-bottom layout.

I also let Kristen did a few rounds of exploration on map view referring to map component from previous project.

Screenshot 2023-08-06 at 4.36.01 PM.png
Screenshot 2023-08-06 at 4.35.36 PM.png

We showed these concepts in multiple design reviews with our VP and managers. Here's the feedback we got:

- Remove SLA score as what it means is ambiguous and is not actionable. There might be legal issues as well showing it directly in the console.

- Can't support map view as this does not exist in design library and there is not enough engineering resource to create this custom component.

- Add recommendation section to as we can utilize an existing service Cloud Advisor to push recommendations to users. 

Design

Final Design

Overview

Recommendations

Interaction Spec

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— THANKS FOR WATCHING —

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