Changing the GUI of a product is a brave decision and can provoke a strong reaction. The introduction of a new GUI in BackupExec 2012 was a classic example of taking a perfectly functional interface and destroying it. More recently of course there has been the disappearance of the Start Menu from Windows, which Microsoft have had to backtrack on. At the beginning of the year HP introduced the SSMC and the good news is that the fundamental concept is good. The SSMC is a clean looking web based console, easy to pick up and use with no training plus integrates block, NAS, reporting and alerting options all in one place. However like any new GUI there is room for improvement and the good news is HP are willing to listen. A sticky post has been setup at 3parug.com where you can leave your feedback. I will be leaving the following feedback:
One of the key tests for any new GUI is it should not only be easier to use but quicker as well. On that basis I want to look at the following areas which look at usability in general rather than specific features.
1 Main menu – I can’t think of another application where to bring up the main navigation point you need to click. This creates delay in the form of the click plus in the time it then takes you to look at and process the menu. There needs to be an anchor point from which menus are accessed, always visible.
2 List Pane – Once you have selected a screen the list pane must be expand to view a table summary fr all items, which then compromises the detail pane. The list pane is a compromise at the moment neither just a simple list of devices nor a fully-fledged area of information. To remediate this the list pane needs to stripped back to its most basic function to list out the objects you have selected. The information that is currently exposed by expanding the list pane could be accessed by adding a root container at the top of the list of objects you were listing. For example if you clicked on a top level object called all virtual volumes then the table view you currently see in the list pane could be exposed in the detail pane.
I would also like to see a hierarchy introduced in the list pane so you can for example expand a disk shelf to see what disk it has in it.
3 Common actions – When you do highlight an object there needs to be a common tasks menu appear or the ability to right click and access it. Having to move over to the actions menu each occasion is time consuming
4 Customisation – There needs to be the ability to add and remove and rearrange columns from views
I said I wasn’t going to mention specific features but if there was a way to add a tick box saying use my AD credentials that would be useful.
Have your say by visiting 3parug.com and leaving your comments in this thread.
If you’re looking to get started with SSMC check out my beginners guide to SSMC series: