Tag Archives: product design

The Teams Dashboard: Behind the Scenes

Post Syndicated from Abe Carryl original https://blog.cloudflare.com/the-teams-dashboard-behind-the-scenes/

The Teams Dashboard: Behind the Scenes

The Teams Dashboard: Behind the Scenes

Back in 2010, Cloudflare was introduced at TechCrunch Disrupt as a security and performance solution that took the tools of the biggest service providers and made them available to anyone online. But simply replicating these tools wasn’t enough — we needed to make them ridiculously easy to use.

When we launched Cloudflare for Teams almost ten years later, the vision was very much the same — build a secure and powerful Zero Trust solution that is ridiculously easy to use. However, while we talk about what we’re building with a regular cadence, we often gloss over how we are designing Cloudflare for Teams to make it simple and easy to use.

In this blog post we’ll do just that — if that sounds like your jam, keep scrolling.

Building a house

First, let’s back up a bit and introduce Cloudflare for Teams.

We launched Cloudflare for Teams in January, 2020. With Teams, we wanted to alleviate the burden Cloudflare customers were feeling when trying to protect themselves and their infrastructure from threats online. We knew that continuing to rely on expensive hardware would be difficult to maintain and impractical to scale.

At its core, Teams joins two products together — Access and Gateway. On the one hand, Access acts as a bouncer at the door of all your applications, checking the identity of everyone who wants in. It’s a Zero Trust solution that secures inbound connections. On the other hand, Gateway is a Secure Web Gateway solution that acts as your organization’s bodyguard — it secures your users as they set out to navigate the Internet.

Over the past year, we’ve been rapidly shipping features to help our customers face the new and daunting challenges 2020 brought around. However, that velocity often took a toll on the intentionality of how we design the Teams Dashboard, and resulted in a myriad of unintended consequences. This is often referred to as a “Feature Shop” dilemma, where Product and Design only think about what they’re building and become too resource-constrained to consider why they’re building it.

In an interface, this pattern often manifests itself through siloed functionality and fractured experiences. And admittedly, when we first began building the Teams Dashboard, many of our experiences felt this way. Users were able to take singular features from inception to fruition, but were limited in their ability to thread these experiences together in a seamless fashion across the Dashboard.

The duplex problem

Here’s an example. In the early days of Cloudflare for Teams, we wanted to provide users with a single pane of glass to manage their security policies. In order to do so, users would need to onboard to both Access and Gateway. Only one problem, we didn’t have an onboarding pathway for Cloudflare Access. The obvious question became “What do we need?”. Inherently, the answer was an onboarding flow for Cloudflare Access.

Just like that, we were off to the races.

In retrospect, what we should have been asking instead was “Why do users need onboarding flow?” By focusing on what, we polluted our own ability to build the right solution for this problem. Instead of providing a seamless entryway to our dashboard, we created a fork-in-the-road decision point and siloed our customers into two separate paths that did not make it easy for them to approach our dashboard.

From an experiential perspective, we later equated this to inviting our users to a party. We give them an address, but when they show up at the doorstep, they realize the house is actually a duplex. Which doorbell are they supposed to ring? Where’s the party? What will they find if they walk into the wrong unit?

The Teams Dashboard: Behind the Scenes

Leading with Design

That’s where Design fits in. Our design team is hyper-obsessed with asking why. Why are we throwing a party? Why should anyone come? Why should they stay? By challenging our team to lead with design, we take a questioning attitude to each of the features we contemplate building. With this approach, we do not assume a feature is valuable, intuitive, or even required. We assume nothing.

During our “Feature Shop” days, we had a bad habit of providing “bad mockups” or outlining a solution for Design to prototype. This is often referred to as “solution pollution”. For example, if I tell you I need a fast car, you’re probably going to start designing a car. However, if instead I tell you I need to get from point A to point B as quick as possible, you may end up designing a bike, scooter, car, or something entirely new and novel. Design thrives in this balance.

Now, we begin at the beginning and gather contextual data which drove us toward a given feature hypothesis. Together, Product and Design then research the problem alongside the users it may impact. More importantly, once the problem space has been validated, we partner on the solution itself.

With this new approach in mind, we revisited our onboarding experience, and this time, the solution we arrived at was quite different from our initial prototypes. Instead of creating two divergent pathways we now proposed a single Cloudflare for Teams onboarding flow. This solved the duplex problem.

The Teams Dashboard: Behind the Scenes

This flow prioritized two key elements; preparing users for success and emphasizing time-to-value. During initial research, Design was able to identify that users often felt overwhelmed and underprepared for the configuration required during an early onboarding. Additionally, due to this sentiment, users failed to reach an initial “Aha!” moment until much later than anticipated in their user journey. To address these concerns, we truncated the onboarding process to just three simple steps:

  • Welcome to Teams
  • Create a Team Name
  • Pick a Plan

As simple as that. Then, we created a Quick Start guide which users land on after onboarding. Let’s call this our inboarding flow. Next, we created a variety of “Starter Packs” within the guide which automate much the laborious configuration for users so they can start realizing value from Cloudflare for Teams almost instantly:

The Teams Dashboard: Behind the Scenes

What’s next

Moving forward, we will continue to expand on the Quick Start guide adding more robust starter packs and enhancing the opportunities for continuous learning. We’re also looking to incorporate intelligent recommendations based on your environment. We’ll also be releasing other improvements this quarter which apply the same underlying concepts found in our Quick Start guide to other areas of the UI such as our Empty States and Overview pages.

Perhaps most importantly, by leading with Design we’re able to foster healthy debate early and often for the products and features we consider releasing within the UI. These relationships drive us to map risks to controls and force us to build with care and intentionality. After all, we all have the same mission: to help build a better Internet.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Cloudflare for Teams design lifecycle, stay tuned. We have three upcoming blog releases which will walk you through our product content strategy, our design vision, and an exciting new feature release where you can see this partnership in action.

Designing distinctive Raspberry Pi products

Post Syndicated from Helen Lynn original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/designing-distinctive-raspberry-pi-products/

If you have one of our official cases, keyboards or mice, or if you’ve visited the Raspberry Pi Store in Cambridge, UK, then you know the work of Kinneir Dufort. Their design has become a part of our brand that’s recognised the world over. Here’s an account from the team there of their work with us.

Over the last six years, our team at Kinneir Dufort have been privileged to support Raspberry Pi in the design and development of many of their products and accessories. 2019 has been another landmark year in the incredible Raspberry Pi story, with the opening of the Raspberry Pi store in February, the launch of the official keyboard and mouse in April, followed by the launch of Raspberry Pi 4 in June.



We first met Eben, Gordon and James in 2013 when we were invited to propose design concepts for an official case for Raspberry Pi Model B. For the KD team, this represented a tremendously exciting opportunity: here was an organisation with a clear purpose, who had already started making waves in the computing and education market, and who saw how design could be a potent ingredient in the presentation and communication of the Raspberry Pi proposition.

Alongside specific design requirements for the Model B case, the early design work also considered the more holistic view of what the 3D design language of Raspberry Pi should be. Working closely with the team, we started to define some key design principles which have remained as foundations for all the products since:

  • Visibility of the board as the “hero” of the product
  • Accessibility to the board, quickly and simply, without tools
  • Adaptability for different uses, including encouragement to “hack” the case
  • Value expressed through low cost and high quality
  • Simplicity of form and detailing
  • Boldness to be unique and distinctively “Raspberry Pi”

Whilst maintaining a core of consistency in the product look and feel, these principles have been applied with different emphases to suit each product’s needs and functions. The Zero case, which started as a provocative “shall we do this?” sketch visual sent to the team by our Senior Designer John Cowan-Hughes after the original case had started to deliver a return on investment, was all about maximum simplicity combined with adaptability via its interchangeable lids.

Photo of three Raspberry Pi Zero cases from three different angles, showing the lid of a closed case, the base of a closed case, and an open case with an apparently floating lid and a Raspberry Pi Zero visible inside.

The ‘levitating lid’ version of the Zero case is not yet publically available

Later, with the 3A+ case, we started with the two-part case simplicity of the Zero case and applied careful detailing to ensure that we could accommodate access to all the connectors without overcomplicating the injection mould tooling. On Raspberry Pi 4, we retained the two-part simplicity in the case, but introduced new details, such as the gloss chamfer around the edge of the case, and additional material thickness and weight to enhance the quality and value for use with Raspberry Pi’s flagship product.

After the success of the KD design work on Raspberry Pi cases, the KD team were asked to develop the official keyboard and mouse. Working closely with the Raspberry Pi team, we explored the potential for adding unique features but, rightly, chose to do the simple things well and to use design to help deliver the quality, value and distinctiveness now integrally associated with Raspberry Pi products. This consistency of visual language, when combined with the Raspberry Pi 4 and its case, has seen the creation of a Raspberry Pi as a new type of deconstructed desktop computer which, in line with Raspberry Pi’s mission, changes the way we think about, and engage with, computers.


The launch of the Cambridge store in February – another bold Raspberry Pi move which we were also delighted to support in the early planning and design stages – provides a comprehensive view of how all the design elements work together to support the communication of the Raspberry Pi message. Great credit should go to the in-house Raspberry Pi design team for their work in the development and implementation of the visual language of the brand, so beautifully evident in the store.

Small tabletop model of the side walls, rear walls, front windows, and floor of the Raspberry Pi Store. The model is annotated with handwritten Post-It notes in a variety of colours.

An early sketch model of the Raspberry Pi Store

In terms of process, at KD we start with a brief – typically discussed verbally with the Raspberry Pi team – which we translate into key objectives and required features. From there, we generally start to explore ideas with sketches and basic mock-ups, progressively reviewing, testing and iterating the concepts.

Top-down photo of a desk covered with white paper on which are a couple of Raspberry Pis and several cases. The hands of someone sketching red and white cases on the paper are visible. Also visible are the hands of someone measuring something with digital calipers, beside a laptop on the screen of which is a CAD model of a Raspberry Pi case.

Sketching and modelling and reviewing

For evaluating designs for products such as the cases, keyboard and mouse, we make considerable use of our in-house 3D printing resources and prototyping team. These often provide a great opportunity for the Raspberry Pi team to get hands on with the design – most notably when Eben took a hacksaw to one of our lovingly prepared 3D-printed prototypes!

Phone photo of Eben sitting at a desk and hacksawing a white 3D-printed prototype Raspberry Pi case

EBEN YOUR FINGERS

Sometimes, despite hours of reviewing sketches and drawings, and decades of experience, it’s not until you get hands-on with the design that you can see further improvements, or you suddenly spot a new approach – what if we do this? And that’s the great thing about how our two teams work together: always seeking to share and exchange ideas, ultimately to produce better products.

Photo of three people sitting at a table in an office handling and discussing 3D-printed Raspberry Pi case prototypes

There’s no substitute for getting hands-on

Back to the prototype! Once the prototype design is agreed, we work with 3D CAD tools and progress the design towards a manufacturable solution, collaborating closely with injection moulding manufacturing partners T-Zero to optimise the design for production efficiency and quality of detailing.

One important aspect that underpins all our design work is that we always start with consideration for the people we are designing for – whether that’s a home user setting up a media centre, an IT professional using Raspberry Pi as a web server, a group of schoolchildren building a weather station, or a parent looking to encourage their kid to code.

Engagement with the informed, proactive and enthusiastic online Raspberry Pi community is a tremendous asset. The instant feedback, comments, ideas and scrutiny posted on Raspberry Pi forums is powerful and healthy; we listen and learn from this, taking the insight we gain into each new product that we develop. Of course, with such a wide and diverse community, it’s not easy to please everyone all of the time, but that won’t stop us trying – keep your thoughts and feedback coming to [email protected]!

If you’d like to know more about KD, or the projects we work on, check out our blog posts and podcasts at www.kinneirdufort.com.

The post Designing distinctive Raspberry Pi products appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Help us make it easier for you to design products with Raspberry Pi

Post Syndicated from Roger Thornton original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/help-us-make-it-easier-for-you-to-design-products-with-raspberry-pi/

We want to improve the way we support companies that design with Raspberry Pi computers, and we need your help to do it.

Raspberry Pi’s success is thanks to the community that exists around it.  When we launched Raspberry Pi 4, our most powerful computer yet, we gave our community the chance to ask our engineers all about the new product.

A shiny Raspberry Pi 4 on a flat white surface, viewed at an angle

Now we’d like to turn the tables and ask you some questions as we work to improve the support we offer to people and organisations that design using Raspberry Pi.

If you have experience of designing products or industrial solutions that use Raspberry Pi, we would love to hear from you.

Raspberry Pi in products

Raspberry Pi has been used to power products from Compute Module-based industrial controllers made by Kunbus

Three smart, compact orange and grey RevPi Core 3 enclosures mounted on a din rail

…to Raspberry Pi-based washing machines with Raspberry Pi touchscreen displays from Marathon.

Sleek-looking charcoal grey washing machine with a dark red door trim and a large colour display screen

Organisations are increasingly using various kinds of Raspberry Pi computer to power products and solutions, and we want to do more to support designers.

Please help us!

If you have experience as a design consultancy that uses Raspberry Pi computers in products, or if you have used a designer to build a product that includes a Raspberry Pi, we would love to talk to you about it. You will help shape what we offer in the future, and make designing products with Raspberry Pi simple, quick, and powerful.

Get in touch

If you use Raspberry Pi in products or in industrial solutions, I want to talk to you. Please fill in this form with a few details of your experience so we can talk more.

The post Help us make it easier for you to design products with Raspberry Pi appeared first on Raspberry Pi.