let's work together

get in touch

let's work together

get in touch

summary

For 2 years, I led the design for Azure Data Studio, Microsoft's flagship tool for managing databases. During my time there we introduced a number of key new experiences that expanded the tools' capability and resulted in a 400% increase in active users. We also redesigned a number of existing aspects of the tool, and aligned it better to the company's design system Fluent.

problem

The existing tool had some promise and a lot of useful functionality. However, it also had a lot of opportunities for improvement, both in terms of existing experiences, as well as the potential for adding new ones. Overall, the tool had no complete vision and direction, so we had to address who our target audience was, as well as what experiences needed to be prioritized over others.

target audience

The target audience constituted of SQL database administrators and incident response engineers. Though there were also other secondary personas, such as data scientists and analysts, our focus for my time there was on fundamental experiences, so we primarily focused on the two personas described below.

sql admin sam

sql admin sam

Sam is a SQL database administrator. his goals are to minimize database downtime and do maintenance tasks like creating backups. He strives to minimize database downtime, and ensure the integrity of the overall system and data.

Incident response engineer rachel

Incident response engineer rachel

Rachel is an incident response engineer. She works on resolving database-related incidents. Her goals are to close tickets quickly and with minimal friction. As part of her work, she frequently does many repetitive tasks and has to communicate with stakeholders. She wants to automate mundane tasks, so that she can focus on more important work.

process

I started my work by conducting analysis and user research, in order to understand the problems of the existing tool. As I collected data, I was also doing frequent alignments with stakeholders, in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding what we could target next. I then started prototyping solutions to our problems, which included multiple iterations and feedback sessions. As the prototypes became more complete, we also conducted usability testing to make sure that our concepts are validated. Gradually, our prototypes made it through our development pipeline and into the live product.

final design
ux audit
personas

sketches

branding
iteration
competitor analysis

user research

final design
final design
ux audit

usability testing

User Research
iteration

competitor analysis

sketches

Mid-fi prototype
personas

usability testing

competitor analysis

Mid-fi prototype

design system

Azure Data Studio was initially created as a fork of VSCode, and as such, it followed its design system. However, as our strategy was to align with other data-related tools in our ecosystem, we made a shift toward Fluent UI. This is Microsoft's design system, which most products follow. To do that, we had to modify a number of components and styles. It brought greater alignment with the other experiences in our overall portfolio.

improved homepage

As some users had trouble understanding how to find some of the key features of the tool, we redesigned the home page. The new design made the product easier for new users to get started and it also made the tool better aligned with other products in our suite.

redesigned notebooks

ADS includes Jupyter Notebooks as part of its feature set. This is a key tool that lets our personas perform their critical tasks. We redesigned our notebook from the ground up and made it much more intuitive to use. We also added an improved way to organize and search for notebooks, in order to make them better for production use. Furthermore, we pushed the boundaries of what is possible in a notebook by adding new experiences like a WYSIWYG editor, parameters, and a python package manager.

redesigned notebooks

In order to get a deeper understanding of the product and to identify problem areas, I conducted a UX audit. My analysis showed that the site's design was dated, and the interaction model was complicated and at times confusing.

extension dashboards

To make managing remote databases easier, we completely redesigned our database dashboards feature. We made it more streamlined and better organized. We also replaced the whole styling and iconography.

SQL DB projects

To help SQL database creators and maintainers, we also introduced a project feature, that helped users organize their databases. This made the tool more appropriate for production use and enabled developers to stop dealing with a bunch of separate SQL files.

summary

For 2 years, I led the design for Azure Data Studio, Microsoft's flagship tool for managing databases. During my time there we introduced a number of key new experiences that expanded the tools' capability and resulted in a 400% increase in active users. We also redesigned a number of existing aspects of the tool, and aligned it better to the company's design system Fluent.

problem

The existing tool had some promise and a lot of useful functionality. However, it also had a lot of opportunities for improvement, both in terms of existing experiences, as well as the potential for adding new ones. Overall, the tool had no complete vision and direction, so we had to address who our target audience was, as well as what experiences needed to be prioritized over others.

target audience

The target audience constituted of SQL database administrators and incident response engineers. Though there were also other secondary personas, such as data scientists and analysts, our focus for my time there was on fundamental experiences, so we primarily focused on the two personas described below.

sql admin sam

Sam is a SQL database administrator. his goals are to minimize database downtime and do maintenance tasks like creating backups. He strives to minimize database downtime, and ensure the integrity of the overall system and data.

Incident response engineer rachel

Rachel is an incident response engineer. She works on resolving database-related incidents. Her goals are to close tickets quickly and with minimal friction. As part of her work, she frequently does many repetitive tasks and has to communicate with stakeholders. She wants to automate mundane tasks, so that she can focus on more important work.

process

I started my work by conducting analysis and user research, in order to understand the problems of the existing tool. As I collected data, I was also doing frequent alignments with stakeholders, in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding what we could target next. I then started prototyping solutions to our problems, which included multiple iterations and feedback sessions. As the prototypes became more complete, we also conducted usability testing to make sure that our concepts are validated. Gradually, our prototypes made it through our development pipeline and into the live product.

final design
ux audit
personas

sketches

branding
iteration
competitor analysis

user research

final design
ux audit

usability testing

User Research
iteration

competitor analysis

sketches

Mid-fi prototype
personas

usability testing

competitor analysis

Mid-fi prototype

design system

Azure Data Studio was initially created as a fork of VSCode, and as such, it followed its design system. However, as our strategy was to align with other data-related tools in our ecosystem, we made a shift toward Fluent UI. This is Microsoft's design system, which most products follow. To do that, we had to modify a number of components and styles. It brought greater alignment with the other experiences in our overall portfolio.

improved homepage

As some users had trouble understanding how to find some of the key features of the tool, we redesigned the home page. The new design made the product easier for new users to get started and it also made the tool better aligned with other products in our suite.

redesigned notebooks

ADS includes Jupyter Notebooks as part of its feature set. This is a key tool that lets our personas perform their critical tasks. We redesigned our notebook from the ground up and made it much more intuitive to use. We also added an improved way to organize and search for notebooks, in order to make them better for production use. Furthermore, we pushed the boundaries of what is possible in a notebook by adding new experiences like a WYSIWYG editor, parameters, and a python package manager.

redesigned notebooks

In order to get a deeper understanding of the product and to identify problem areas, I conducted a UX audit. My analysis showed that the site's design was dated, and the interaction model was complicated and at times confusing.

extension dashboards

To make managing remote databases easier, we completely redesigned our database dashboards feature. We made it more streamlined and better organized. We also replaced the whole styling and iconography.

SQL DB projects

To help SQL database creators and maintainers, we also introduced a project feature, that helped users organize their databases. This made the tool more appropriate for production use and enabled developers to stop dealing with a bunch of separate SQL files.

Azure Data Studio

DATE

May 2021 - Dec 2021

Role

UI/UX Designer

Azure Data Studio

DATE

May 2021 - Dec 2021

Role

UI/UX Designer

Azure Data Studio

DATE

May 2021 - Dec 2021

Role

UI/UX Designer

Azure Data Studio

DATE

May 2021 - Dec 2021

Role

UI/UX Designer