Sumo Logic

Explorer provides system visibility in an elegant dashboard for Site Reliability Engineers who need to keep applications reliable 24/7.
My Role
UX/UI
Prototyping
Data Visualization
Team
Soraya Nunkunkit - Lead Product Designer
Aona Yang - UX Researcher
Abhinav Khanna - Product Manager

The challenge

For Site Reliability Engineers, the clock is ticking from the moment they receive an alert and finding the root cause of an outage requires looking through many dashboards often times without much context.

A topology map linked with content

Explorer is focused around 2 key use cases: (1) monitoring dynamic problem areas and (2) drilling down into big data quickly.
They key components that help SREs navigate the ocean of information are the hierarchy of the system and status. Through several prototype iterations, I worked on defining the best navigation that can give SREs a quick map of their system.
Simplicity was key since SREs are dealing with the pressure of time. A list based UI allowed them to easily view the topology of their system and it could also scale to support customized hierarchies.
The new topology map competed with the main product navigation. Despite collapsing it to make more room for the visualizations, most SREs needed to see it for reference so this led our team to rearchitect our product navigation.

Isolating data

Slicing and dicing the data within the dashboard helps SREs isolate potential causes of the outage. This process needs to be fast especially when they have to do this for multiple dashboards that may have 10+ visualizations. Variables allow SREs to replace values in the underlying search of each panel at once and also customize unique values to their organization.

Intuitive Data Visualizations

I focused on bringing more consistency across all of our data visualizations so SREs can surface patterns more quickly and get immediate insights. This effort required building guidelines around layout, colors and interactions so all visualization felt like they were part of one product, not just legos from external libraries.
I helped our design system also simplify global components like the time range for panels. A type assist time picker minimizes the amount of clicks SREs do when they need to narrow down their scope of focus at the panel level.
“This view right here is worth the money. People cannot f****** find the data they need when they need it. I built a custom app type to help them but this solves that challenge”

Alex Morreale
Senior Site Reliability Engineer @ezCater

Learnings

It has been a privilege to work on simplifying a manual workflow that gives back SREs more time to sleep or more time with their families. Over the course of the project I learned to abstract technical concepts through analogies. By investing time on breaking down complexity, I was able to bridge the gap between design and engineering so our team could step into the world of the SRE without getting confused by technical terms. I want to continue this practice so other teams don't feel intimidated by complexity.