Delphix server creates a virtualization layer that simplifies the management of database and reduces duplication and redundancy. It includes a web GUI that provides management for all the VDBs (Virtual Database).
I designed the user interface with innovative concepts (such as TimeFlow) and intuitive usability for Delphix Server (TM) from early research and original scratches. I also wrote specification of GUI architecture, workflow and style guide; created mockups and wireframes for each interaction; and produced GUI library that contains all the visual elements.
Enterprise applications usuallly focus on building technology first and design user interfaces late. As a result, GUIs tend to reflect the mechanics of the technology, rather than what is intuitive or easy to use for customers. In Delphix I was doing GUI design in a parallel relationship with engineering work. The design focused on user experience and usability in a first place, by speaking with prospective customers, over and over detailed analysing and distilling of functions, and iterations on the look and feel. I achieved the goal of to design “an enterprise software with consumer usability and stunning look and feel” and gained thumbs-up from almost all users and customers.
The Delphix Server GUI uses Flex frame work. So it is different from typical HTML+CSS webpage-scrolling-like application – it retains the experience of full-screen desktop application while running in web browsers. So one challenge of design is to maximum exhibit the beauty of full browser window and reduce all the unnecessary space and elements. I designed the layout and partition of screens, including the three panels main management console, and table + floating panles for all the supporting modules. Another challenge is to obtain a unique look and feel, we need to re-write the entire library to replace the flex default. I found the most quick and efficient solution is to create vector based art instead of rasters. Thus I built the style library in flash format and kept maintaining it. The library includes all skins, buttons, icons, clipart, etc. I also created whole set of screen mockups by using the library to showcase GUI engineers. The color palatte designed for the GUI echoes the company image – black, white, gray and red as dominant colors represent the temperament of enterprise software – simple, creative, and powerful.