OpenBMC is an open-source firmware stack with contributors across many companies in the open community.

Our IBM Austin team is leading the design of OpenBMC’s front-end, browser-based interface.

The goal is to provide an intuitive and consistent way for system administrators to configure and monitor the health of their BMC-based servers.

My role

I worked as a researcher and user experience designer for the project. I conducted many user interviews to understand user pain points and also to test the prototypes I designed. I worked with the visual designer when the prototypes are ready to hand over to development. Then I worked with the development team and supplied detailed feedback on interaction, behaviors and  animation of the designs.

Design process

  1. Roadmap: My design process begins with project roadmap calls where we discuss the the users’ needs, and the purpose, feasibility and importance of the feature.
  2. Sprint Planning: Then in our sprint planning calls, I choose a feature of high importance in the pipeline to begin working on.
  3. Feature discovery: I start working on a feature with a feature discovery process. During this phase, I reach out to backend design engineers to understand the feature scope and needs. Also, I look at our existing feature and competitors’ GUI to understand the AS IS scenario.
  4. User interviews: I then work with our researcher to craft user discovery questions to uncover user needs and pain point for the feature. Due to the unavailability of researchers, I have learned how to conduct user interviews as well.
  5. Low fidelity mockups: Once I have enough information on the feature background, needs, and pain points, I begin designing a low fidelity mockup to understand the feature more and [maybe add something else about th importance of low fidelity mockups}. If I discover any further issues during this process, I return to the discovery phase and continue refining the prototype.
  6. High fidelity mockups: After testing the low fidelity mockups with users to address the pain points of users and the technical feasibility with the development team, I will start on a high-fidelity design. At this time I will ask our visual designer for feedback.
  7. User testing and handoff: Once the high-fidelity design is tested, I revise any elements that are unclear to users. I also address the features that needs to be refined or enhanced for functionality and experience. Once testing is complete, I work with developers to handoff the design files, mockup flow, behavior and animation, nd redlines if needed.

This process if by no means a linear process. We iterate on low and hi fidelity designs based on user feedback.

Feature study

You can find the detailed step-by-step design process in the feature studies below-