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Blog AWS Logging

Never Stop Learning: Loggly Usability Sessions at AWS re:Invent

By Nick Cawthon 17 Nov 2013

What do you do when over 8,000 of the world’s top cloud-centric developers, engineers, and DevOps professionals gather in one place?  You test them of course… and pick their brains to improve our service.

We selected around two dozen participants (a big thanks for those that braved the booth crowds to provide us feedback!) at AWS re:Invent and ran them through product sessions and scenarios to help prioritize our improvements going forward, as we pride ourselves in being the quickest path to solving operational problems… and that really all starts with how quickly people are able to engage with our product to ask and answer their critical issues.

We recorded (with a consent of course) their use of our live Loggly Gen2 log management service, and a few things we are working on adding.  The video with the recorded screen actions and audio provide a way we can see joy and frustration to continually optimize the experience… and in a medium that allows us to share the sessions back at the home office for our engineers to understand the true customer experience.

User Testing at AWS
User Testing at AWS
User Testing Session in progress at AWS re:Invent

During these Loggly usability sessions, we concentrated on the setup process initially, given that this is the start of the Loggly experience and the first landing page after sign-up. Excellent points about displaying the version of Python next to the script information, as well as providing a link to a more accessible repository for an in-depth view, rather than have to download and open the file itself. We’re hard at work streamlining the Source Setup as much as possible and hope to better integrate the transition into Source Groups once your data is flowing in.

Knowing that searching for events is the primary activity for our users, we’re also rolling out some improvements to the Events view. There will soon be greater visibility to active / hovered individual events, as well as displaying where on the timeline the user’s active event resides. Look for an even easier way to reference your needle in the Event haystack, both in the ability to show a Surrounding Search based upon a single event, as well as marking it for comparison against others in the timeline.

Our sessions also indicated that the button for saving searches was sometimes hard to find. When you watch the participant’s mouse dart right (instead of left) a half-dozen times, then you know you’ve put the button on the wrong side! Because Saved Searches is such an integral part of the greater Loggly experience (generating Alerts and providing the basis for a key dashboard widget), look for a higher level of organization and visibility around its presence and usage.

We never stop asking questions internally on how we can improve the world’s most popular cloud-based log management service even further, but we know that often the best answers our found our side the company walls in the hands of users.  We will be holding future sessions at events, conferences and meet ups, follow Loggly’s Twitter feed or contact me directly if you want to know more or participate.

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Nick Cawthon

Nick Cawthon