aj_kotval

Cisco: ACI

  • Roles: Product UX Design · Content Design · Customer Research · User Testing

Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is the bedrock of Cisco’s business worldwide and is the key driver of Cisco’s profitability. I was within the newly-formed ACI UX design team, where I led product design and successfuly introduced content design for a range of products related to datacenter networking.

Problem

ACI products had a sub-optimal user experience due to operational reliability being the sole focus.

Solution

  • Institute a more customer-centric design approach that focused on users, took their feedback into account, and that utilized research and testing in the product development process.

Team

  • Product designers x 5
  • Dir. of engineering 
  • Engineering team

Contact

email@domain.com

000-000-000


— Instagram

— Twitter

— Facebook

— PROJECT NAME

Multi-Site Orchestrator (MSO)


— ROLES

Product design

Content design

User testing


I took over product design for MSO while it was still in its early stages. Like other ACI products, it suffered from a lack of a good user experience. Utilizing our nascent design system, and creating high quality in-product content, made it a prime example of the success our team enjoyed through our collective efforts to bring UX to ACI.


The Multi-Site Orchestrator (MSO) was a newer product, and this meant that our evolving design system could be used in designing it and gathering data on what design elements worked and what needed refining.   


Our hypothesis was that users wanted a way to quickly access information related to the status of their global sites at a glance. They also wanted simplified flows to quickly and efficiently connect globally-dispersed sites, with the least effort possible.  


Results: User testing with a representative sample of 7 real-world users proved this approach was correct, with users being very satisfied with the amount of information overall in the flow, the ease of use of setting up sites, and the clarity of the dashboard's information.


— PROJECT NAME

Design System


— ROLES

Research 

Design

Collaboration

"How do you denote a VRF? 

What about a node? 

And how do you show something has global connections and layers, using only icons that aren't commonly understood?" 


These were some of the many questions that we as a team dealt with in our quest to make ACI's products more user-friendly.


This was not an easy challenge since there wasn't commonly understood iconography for a lot of what would be reported. 


One of our team took the lead in creating the actual icons, and the rest of us provided feedback and guidance in reviews.


— PROJECT NAME

Proto Personas


— ROLES

Customer research

Collaboration

Working with my department manager, I identified late, middle, and early-career users as our key audiences to guide design. These personas would serve as the basis of all our product design efforts going forward. They would also keep things in perspective when working with highly technical, cross-functional collaborators.

— PROJECT NAME

Content Guide


— ROLES

Research

Content design

Collaboration

I created Cisco ACI’s first content guide to bring a common voice and tone to a highly technical product portfolio. 

The aim was to create a guide that designers could use to write in-product content. In addition to this, it would also serve as the basis of a content design practice within the product team in the long run. 

— PROJECT NAME

In-product Content


— ROLES

Content design

User testing

Highly technical information needed to be communicated quickly, clearly, and succinctly across our products. Being the sole content person in our team (the by-product of introducing content design to the department), I took on the challenge of creating clear content, with the use of visuals where required to communicate efficiently.

— PROJECT NAME

Product Quickstart Guides


— ROLES

Visual design

Content design

An important piece of user feedback we received was that new users had no way of quickly understanding product basics.


I put together short product guides that contained the basics of what users needed to know such as the location of important features, initial customization of the product, data levels, etc.

Impact

Improvements in product innovation, increased user satisfaction, more effective and efficient UX processes with more focus on the need for customer research, and the introduction of UX writing/content strategy to complete product user experience across the department.