We are working on building the best-of-breed server monitoring solution out there. To that end, we want to have the most useful, easy to use, and attractive reports possible.
We have an existing product that has web-based reports of server health. They're OK, but it's time to improve. You can see some of the existing reports at http://www.poweradmin.com/servermonitor (screenshots on that page). Simple is good. Easy to read is good.
After we redo this report, we'll likely do a few others and come back to the same designer for help. HTML would be a nice bonus, but not required at all.
- Most important, it must look professional. People rely on our software -- they need to feel comfortable knowing this software will perform, make their life easier, keep them from getting chewed out by their boss, etc
- Needs to be clean/simple -- the information that is being presented is complex enough, we don't want the design/colors/etc competing for the user's attention
- Attractive - on the other hand, we don't want black and white and boring fonts :) Some companies put this up on the wall for everyone to see, so it should be comforting.
- Would be nice if it fit into our existing color scheme (such as the website) but this is a low priority request.
- Specifics: Look closely at the existing report:
- The coloring didn't quite work on the saved report above, so look at some screenshots:
- You'll notice the report is shown within our application -- it can also be opened in a web browser. Also note that as you resize the screen, the two disk drive boxes at the top float up or down as space allows -- that's really important.
- The report needs to look good at all screen widths, in other words, no fixed width. Some people view it on 800x600 screens (of which 200pixels might be the navigation bar in the app), and some put it on giant monitors being fully maximized.
- In the new design, we basically want to change the top where the blue and white bands are (Uptime, Disks, Memory, OS, etc).
- Instead, we want to have a bunch of floating boxes (like the current disk boxes) that will a grow and then drop down as needed. We expect to have graphs in those boxes (typical CPU line chart, disk space line chart, bandwidth line chart, disk space pie chart?, etc). We expect to have 1 to 6 chart boxes depending on configuration, so it needs to look good with differing number of boxes (this is a big part of the challenge)
- In addition, we do want to have some static information (OS, Uptime, Model, CPUs, etc) like today, and a section for server Notes (ie "Talk to Bob before rebooting this server"). Currently we're envisioning a single colored band across the top of the report with this info (maybe one band for notes, one for static info) -- but we're open to new ideas. In fact, since the static info is of lesser importance, it should probably be below the chart boxes??
- A rough idea of what we're after is at http://www.poweradmin.com/design/ba…r-idea.png
- We do want ideas on the graphs themselves (color, grid or not, etc). We'll likely be using the graph control from http://www.amcharts.com
- The very top dark-blue bar with the server name and report update time is OK as-is, but it could change too. We definitely want to keep the basic information.
- A link somewhere (at the top?) on the report to a list of all reports would be good.
- A link somewhere (at the top?) on the report to a PDF version of the report would be good
- The content in the list of monitors and errors/actions at the bottom of the report will likely remain as-is, but better styling would be great (as long as it's simple -- we're using ExtJS grids and don't have a ton of control over the HTML)
- Don't want whimsical
- Don't want 'fun'
- Don't want trendy
- Don't want anything that is at all hard to read (ie visually distracting)
- We don't want something like this (a competitor): http://www.poweradmin.com/design/5.png