WatchGuard Technologies Security Management System Control Center

As a UI design consultant, Lisa developed two alternative designs for WatchGuard Technologiesí Security Management System Control Center. This software application allowed a network administrator to establish firewall settings. Lisa provided all the interaction and visual design work for this project.

The existing user interface (not shown) was based on a single "Service Arena." Services added to the Arena affected both incoming and outgoing connections. Double-clicking a service icon opened a dialog with tabs for each direction of network activity. The design required the user to delve into each service in order to develop a mental model of incoming and outgoing firewall settings.

The first alternative split the main window to create two Service Arenas, one for each connection direction:

Above: Design Alternative 1

Services added to the incoming Arena affect only incoming connections, while those added to the outgoing Arena affect only outgoing connections. Double-clicking a service icon opens a dialog with settings for a single direction of network activity.

The second alternative was a radical departure from the Service Arena. This design incorporated the WatchGuard triangle concept and an Explorer-like tree view:

The main window displays hierarchically the filter rules that affect all connections, connections of a particular direction, and connections between particular Firebox interfaces. Services added to a branch of the tree affect only that branch (e.g., outgoing connections between the External and Optional interfaces. Double-clicking a service icon opens a dialog with settings for the affected portion of the rules hierarchy.

Participants in a user study unanimously ranked the three designs (original and two alternatives) as follows:

  1. Radical redesign (alternative 2)
  2. Split view (alternative 1)
  3. Existing UI

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