Arin Bhowmick
Jul 11 · 4 min read

The IBM Cloud design team is excited to announce that two of our products, IBM Virtual Private Cloud Infrastructure and IBM API Connect, won in the 2019 Good Design Australia Awards in the Digital Design category. I’m thrilled to see our team’s hard work being recognized, and we are honored to have been awarded by such a prestigious organization.

Australia’s annual Good Design Awards program has been running for over half a century and is committed to promoting the importance of design. The Good Design Awards represent the diverse spectrum of design by including ten different design disciplines and a total of 28 categories. The Good Design Awards proudly showcase exceptional examples of good design to a national and international audience, and boasts of a jury comprised of international expert designers.

“Australia’s Good Design Award is more than a symbol of design excellence, it represents the hard work and dedication towards an innovative outcome that will ultimately improve our quality of life,” — Dr. Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia.

This is the fourth award our team has received this year for our design work, and the second award for IBM API Connect. We are constantly striving towards the goal of user-centered, accessible product design, and it’s always exciting to see these efforts recognized by renowned awards.

What is IBM Virtual Private Cloud Infrastructure?

IBM Virtual Private Cloud Infrastructure (VPC) is a product suite designed to modernize and reinvent IBM’s classic infrastructure portfolio of software services. Built as a cloud product, this suite provides a cohesive user experience across the entire portfolio of classic infrastructure software products and helps users navigate to each product easily and intuitively.

VPC overview page, helping users to get started with the suite and learn about common use cases and tasks.

The design team behind IBM VPC began their process by understanding their target users and what their needs were. Their ultimate goal was to produce a cohesive and delightful experience across the entire VPC suite of products. Software infrastructure can be complex and challenging even for the most technologically savvy users. The designers sought out creative ways to reduce the complexity of these tasks while not alienating more expert users with mastery of these skills.

Block Storage for VPC, showing a list of all available storage volumes attached to the virtual servers deployed within their VPC.

“There is demonstration of good zoning and separation of technical specs as well as characteristics of different instances. Furthermore we saw good functional separation, allowing adaptive navigation based on which aspects of virtual servers are plugged in. ” — Good Design Awards Jury

What is IBM API Connect?

IBM API Connect is an application that lets software developers easily launch, scale, edit, and manage API ecosystems that are essential to businesses and organizations. APIs are needed by large organizations around the world to share data and services with their users. This software application is designed for API developers to streamline their API creation and management workflow.

The design and code views allow API developers to switch from editing their API visually to editing via code, so they are comfortable regardless of their level of expertise.

The design team had the challenge of creating a software tool that simplified and streamlined a highly complex process. They first had to understand their target users, API developers, and their needs and pain points. They then had to understand the highly technical domain of API development and management, so that they could design a tool specifically for this process.

The API assembly view is an interactive visualization that simplifies building complex API logic flows, and allows users to easily inspect and debug them.

IBM API Connect includes built-in visual templates, visual tools to create and compare API’s, and a dashboard that displays important metrics and API stats. The software tool also automatically sends updates to API customers and creates a website for developers to share documentation, among other features.

“Clean, well-finished UI, with clear zones of content and action plus well thought-out panels for different content types (e.g. tech specs of APIs versus code, versus test results etc.) The workflow looks really well thought-out, using different patterns to match each function, whilst staying close to the user mental model.” — Good Design Awards Jury

Striving to be User-Centered

The IBM Design team has taken great strides in the past few years to bring a user-focused, design-driven approach to all of our products at IBM. Our users are at the center of our design process, and we are always working to ensure that their voices are heard in the development of our offerings. These awards are great recognitions for our efforts, but more importantly, gives us the belief that we can differentiate our product experiences. As we reflect on the recognitions, it also makes us resolute to continually focus on sustained product experiences, one pixel at a time.

Winning teams:

IBM Virtual Private Cloud Infrastructure:
Design Manager:
Ty Tyner
Design Lead:
Jp Pollard, Janelle Michiko Janyen Arita
Design Team:
Megan Baxter, Derek Bressler, tracey king, Jenny Lanier, Steven Raden, Lauren Rice, Steven Lynn Parker, Michelle Yang

IBM API Connect:
Design Manager:
Christopher Nardi
Design Lead: Sichao Wu
Design Team: Mihir Chauhan, Wayne Chou, Roger Davenport, Jesse Ellenbogen, Jill Lin, Krista Starr, Keesa Robinson


Arin Bhowmick (@arinbhowmick) is Vice President, Design at IBM. He is based in San Francisco, California. The above article is personal and does not necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

Design at IBM

Stories from the practice of design at IBM

Arin Bhowmick

Written by

Global VP Design @IBM | UX Leadership| UX Strategy| Usability & User Research| Product Design| Cloud

Design at IBM

Stories from the practice of design at IBM

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