IBM Design helps Eclipse Codewind win silver in the New York Design Awards

Their win signifies the importance of great user research

Arin Bhowmick
Dec 16, 2020 · 3 min read
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As we see a rise in developer advocacy across the tech industry, the importance of developer experience rises with it. This has created a huge opportunity for design to make an impact. Eclipse Codewind met this challenge head on, and as a result won silver in the New York Design Awards 2020 developer platform/tool/framework category.

The New York Design Awards, run by DrivenxDesign Award Programs, recognizes design that leads the way in technology and innovation. Their developer platform/tool/framework category honors platforms and services that speed up the development lifecycle and power design-driven features and experiences that would have taken years to bring to market.

How does Eclipse Codewind help developers?

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Developers can discover Codewind outside of the IBM ecosystem, giving it a more open source look and feel

Designing for developer experiences deserves unique considerations. Building and developing a cloud native, containerized applications is incredibly complex for developers, preventing them from doing the one thing they really want to do: code. They prefer developing within their preferred integrated developer environment (IDE) and avoid ping-ponging between different apps in order to get things done.

Eclipse Codewind is an open source project that makes it easier for developers to create cloud-native applications within their favorite IDE.

The design team at IBM took this opportunity to contribute to open source initiatives. The goal was to apply IBM Enterprise Design Thinking in adapting a browser based application to a plug-in, and converting its complex functionality to fit within some of the most popular IDE’s.

Thorough research led the way

We believe that user research is the secret sauce to any good design. Several user interviews revealed the pain points that application developers often face, and the design team walked away with three key insights.

First, time spent learning and setting up infrastructures often feels tedious, keeping them from focusing on more complex problems. Second, developers part of a larger team struggle to consistently maintain standards and compliance. And lastly, they’re looking for a streamlined and automated process of creating, building, modifying, and testing containerized apps.

As they began implementation, the design team tested Eclipse Codewind’s user experience with developers in order to inform their design roadmap. Through this research, they learned that users struggled with the getting started experience.

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An As-is Scenario Map helped the design team align around user pain points

In response, they added project templates and a welcome page so that users won’t have to rely on documentation in order to start their first project.

These changes helped immensely. Before, only 6 out of 8 users knew how to start their first project after installing Codewind. After they improved the experience, every user they tested with immediately knew how to complete the task.

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The Quick Start section lets users know they can begin a project with a template

It’s a nice Quick Start screen and I like the big buttons. Usually with any new tools like this, it’s digging through documentation to figure out where to go and what to do. — User interview

The success of this design team reminds us that design must prioritize applied user research in order to stay user-centered. I’m so proud to see their hard work recognized.

Winning team

Design manager: Jay Cagle
Design team: Kim Holmes, Michelle Wang, Guy Loret de Mola, Rachel Chen

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

IBM Design

Stories from the practice of design at IBM

Arin Bhowmick

Written by

Global VP Design @IBM | Chief Design Officer, Cloud, Data and AI I UX Leadership| UX Strategy| Usability & User Research| Product Design

IBM Design

Stories from the practice of design at IBM

Arin Bhowmick

Written by

Global VP Design @IBM | Chief Design Officer, Cloud, Data and AI I UX Leadership| UX Strategy| Usability & User Research| Product Design

IBM Design

Stories from the practice of design at IBM

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