Stakeholder Interviews - Navigation Q2 2019 Initiative
What’s this issue all about?
Phase 1 of the Q2-2019 navigation research initiative. The objective of these interviews is to better understand the expectations and needs that various stakeholders have in regards to the flow of GitLab's navigation, feature discoverability, and usability.
What questions are you trying to answer?
- How do internal stakeholder's needs and expectation compare with external user feedback/experiences?
- What issues, if any, do stakeholders see in GitLab's current navigation?
- What do stakeholders like about GitLab's current navigation?
- What principles will guide our approach to navigation going forward?
- What recommendations, if any, do stakeholders have for improving GitLab's navigation?
- What is the ideal vision? Why?
- Who would be impacted by the recommendations?
- Who would benefit from the recommendations?
- What steps would need to be taken to implement these changes?
- Are there any upcoming company objectives that may influence GitLab's navigation? Which ones?
What decisions will you make based on the research findings?
These interviews will help to shape our approach for recommending improvements to GitLab's navigation.
What's the latest milestone that the research will still be useful to you?
- Finalize list of stakeholders [Deadline: Mon Jun 10th]
OOO June 11th-June14th
- Create a first draft of stakeholder script [Deadline: Tues June 18th]
Schedule interviews with stakeholders [Deadline: Weds June 19th]
- Manage: Virjinia Alexieva - Friday June 21st, 7:30am Pacific Time
- Monitor: Sarah Waldner and (Joshua Lambert, optional) - Tuesday June 25th, 10:00am Pacific Time
- Secure: Nicole Schwartz and Andy Volpe - Monday June 24th, 11:30am Pacific Time
- VP of Product Management - Wednesday June 26th, 10:00am Pacific Time
- Francis Potter - Thursday June 20th, 3:00pm Pacific Time
- Russell Dickenson
- Conduct interviews [Deadline: Thurs June 27th]
- Analyze videos [Deadline: Mon July 1st]
- Document insights as issues in the Insights Repository [Deadline: Tues July 2nd]
- Schedule call with research partner to discuss key insights and next steps [Deadline: Mon July 1st]
Suggested areas of navigation to prioritize first
- Make it easy for a single persona to figure out how to get from stage to stage
- Initiatives that minimize context-switching. The amount of time spent context-switching as a new employee is getting bigger and bigger. GitLab simplifying this for them enables them to ramp up faster.
- Search capabilities for navigation elements
- Landing pages (particularly group and project) and home page
- Better overview of the information that is most relevant to the user (for example, "you have open issues in these projects," "you have merge requests open in this project," etc
- Take another look at the top navigation bar
Advice from stakeholders
- Look at the differences between people who have a single use of GitLab versus those with multiple, diverse features in their workflows
- People who have responsibilities across multiple product stages may be able to provide the most feedback on various workflows throughout the product. They need to move through the product quickly and understand where they're going
- Keep context to a single screen as much as possible
- Find a balance between influencing/guiding users and letting them use the product in a way that makes sense to them
- Don't ship our org chart, ship what makes sense to customers
- Look for inspiration in products that have a higher standard for UX, not just our direct competitors in the enterprise space
- The user shouldn't have to go and hunt for security features. Security elements should be surfaced throughout their workflow and daily updates should be provided on security-related events. Security does not live in just one part of the product.
- Integrate security into workflows and show more goal-oriented information to the user (e.g. see health of pipelines, contribution graphs, velocity/progress, etc all in one reports area)
- Define buckets more robustly in the Secure area. Allow for more generic definitions so that there is more room to grow and rearrange in the future. Focus on what users need to know at a high-level vs displaying important information in various features.
- We may have silos in our organization, but we should not force these silos onto workflows in the product. No silos in display.
- Get engineering and UX to design backend and display frameworks. PMs should be able to contribute things into zones of someone's product area without messing up their work. There should be defined areas of the product where you can contribute.
- Define 1 or 2 areas where users really expect a mix of materials to be.
- Define information in a more grouped way.
Products with good navigation mentioned by stakeholders
- Intercom, MailChimp, Syngrid, HubSpot, Drift
- VisualStudio Code (left sidebar)
- Asana, HarvestApp
- Getting back to where you started: shortcuts back to frequently interacted with pages (mentioned by 3 interviewees)
- Search capabilities for navigation elements (mentioned by 2 users)
- No sidebars in Todos view, todos don't pop out and allow you to address them from the same page (mentioned by 2 interviewees)
- Project>Operations vs Project>Operations>Settings
- Ability to add a todo from the board view, ability to edit issue description from board
- Education in empty states: provide more context in the UI for features that are unfamiliar to the user
- Security features should not only live in Merge Requests - ideally, we should integrate SAST/DAST scans closer with Verify. Container Scanning, DAST, and fuzzing in CD. SAST in CI. Defend in post-deployment (with Monitoring). Trace vulnerabilities back to issues.
- GitLab currently feels like different products in one versus one integrated workflow.
- Operations Dashboard icon does not match the left side of the top navbar.
- Teaching users about the differences between the project and group level, directly in the UI
- Optimizing the home page (what do users see first when they log in? how to set the context?)
- Some things are buried that should be surfaced and vice versa. For example, Settings > CI/CD > Variables is very important but they are buried under all the other settings.
- "Merge request is the centerpiece of GitLab. It should be easier to get back to the merge request you are working on"
- "Web IDE feels like a completely different navigational universe...it'd be cool if you could get to it from more places"
- After deleting a project in the group overview page, users get taken back to the home page rather than being taken back to the same group page --> loss of context
- Getting back to a merge request from the Pipeline view
- Your project / Starred Project / Explore Projects is overwhelming for internal users since we don't work on most of the groups/projects we have membership in