Emotional Software Design

Robert Scoble had a really cool entry over on his video blog about Emotional Software Design.  In this entry he interviews Nicole Lazzaro, founder of XEODesign.  Nicole talks passionately about how emotions interplay with user interfaces in games and consumer devices, but I'm sure it's true of any kind of software.  It's really interesting to watch the video and see the kind of terms she uses to describe how people interact with their iPhone.  I think there are lessons to be learned from that related to any kind of software.  Great software (and great interfaces) inspire their users on a level that goes beyond pure productivity increases.  Users love elegant software.

Our group here at Sun has been putting a great deal of work lately into improving our user interfaces, and I've been starting to see a few of the artifacts of that recently.  One easy to illustrate example is the fact that we've developed an improved look and feel for the Sun Connection Inventory channel that we will roll out in the coming weeks.  Over time, the look and feel of all the Sun Connection channels will converge on this look and eventually this will be the case for all our systems management products.

Just to give you a taste of what I'm talking about, here are two pictures of the same screen in the inventory channel.  One is taking from today's production system, and the other is taken from one of our dev systems running an pre-release version of the code.

 

 Old Look (click to zoom)

 

 

 

 

 New Look (click to zoom)

For me, I had a fairly visceral reaction to looking at the new screens.  They work the same (well, mostly), but feel totally different.  The old look now feels very closed in and limiting to me.  The new look feels much more open an inviting.  Perhaps we're taking our first steps into Emotional Systems Management!

BTW, you can spot a couple of new features in here if you look hard enough.  More on that later. :-)

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Thoughts on cloud computing, virtualization and data center management from Steve Wilson, Oracle engineering VP.

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