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Designing for Cisco

For the last two years, I've been working for Cisco Systems User Experience Team. My primary role was to develop the look and feel for Cisco's Common User Interface. Currently, I'm putting the Cisco Standards into practice by deveoping new networking applications. The following page defines the "Why" and "What" of a standards development process. I've also included some work artifacts as a means to articulate what I do and how I do it.

Why a common UI?

A uniquely identifiable look and feel adds value to users in the many ways. Two primary reasons are:
  • Consistency in the interface allows people to transfer their knowledge and skills from one application to another (ease of use).
  • A consistent, recognizable UE contributes to brand loyalty.
  • Shrink wrapped, commercial application appearance
  • Common UI code Library across technology groups
  • Unified development platform across technology groups
Current Cisco applictions vary significantly, signalling the need for a branded, standards-driven GUI. Unification of the visual interface langauge substantially improves usability and brand recognition of Cisco products.

What is the Common UI?

The Common User Interface Initiative resulted in a Cisco-branded visual and interaction language for Cisco's network management software applications. The vision for creating a common user interface is to drive up customer satisfaction by providing a transparent transition from one application to another. Cisco's Common UI is currently producing consistency, familiarity, and unify branding across all Cisco products.

The elements of the common user interface include:

1- A Cisco specific visual language and color palette

2- Cisco specific custom widgets for:
  • Menus
  • Navigation
  • Tables
  • Tabs
  • Tool bars
Whenever possible, the common user interface leverages widgets provided by the operating system. (example: buttons or scrollbars) The common user interface initiative is currently supports HTML, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Solaris. Other environments will be supported when business requirements dictate a need.

Cisco Work Samples:




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