VMware

Interaction Design

Cloudy Forecast



Over summer 2016, I interned at VMware as an Interaction Design intern. I worked on a project around the cloud computing space to help customers forecast what their on-premises environment would cost them in the cloud. During my internship, I had the chance to experience virtually every part of the design process: research, ideation, wireframing, prototyping, and testing.

The Problem


The current process for customers to start using VMware's cloud platform is quite convoluted. Customers first have to contact a sales representative, then the sales representative will ask for more information about the customer's environment, then the customer will provide that information, then the sales team will analyze the environment to create recommendations, and so on. This back-and-forth conversation showed a lot of opportunity for automation.

IT administrators also spend a lot of time conducting research on what cloud provider would work best for their environment. There was no single platform that did accurate cost comparisons across multiple cloud providers.

Solution


To solve these problems, I designed a web application that lets customers connect to their current environment to view accurate cost calculations for multiple cloud providers. It runs a script inside on-premises environments and does cost calculations for VMware vCloud Air, AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and Rackspace.

In addition to cost, it measures compatibility for certain types of environment configurations. If customers wish to choose VMware's cloud, they have the option to immediately contact a VMware sales representative attached with a report about their environment for analysis. This way, the conversation is sped up and can transition directly into developing a cloud migration plan.

My Design Process


1. I began my project by interviewing internal users: project managers from our cloud business unit, sales representatives, and technical account managers. This is how I started shaping my problem statement.

2. Then, I started gathering key insights from these interviews and created an affinity diagram. I used these groupings to generate 15 product ideas. After consulting with my managers and mentors, I narrowed these ideas down to the top 3.

3. Using Balsamiq, I created low-fidelity mockups for each idea and started conducting usability tests with internal users and the UX team. After multiple design iterations shaped by this feedback, I moved on to high-fidelity mockups using Sketch.

4. During the last month of my internship, I built a functional prototype of my design using HTML, CSS, and Angular2. Halfway through my internship, I participated in an intern poster contest by creating a poster that explained my cloud comparison project (photo above). I also had the chance to demo my prototype with VMware employees.

Unfortunately I cannot show any of my designs or prototypes, but I would be happy to talk more about my awesome internship experience at VMware!


Takeaways


1. Show early and show often!
2. There are many facets to the design process.