A new feature for broadband service providers allowing them to easily change port forwarding settings on end users’ devices, but with increased visibility into whether the changes have actually been applied.
In the broadband service provider’s world an individual device is potentially one of thousands being provisioned. So, to ensure that changes to all devices occur in a controlled fashion, changes to any individual device do not necessarily occur immediately. Rather, the changes are batched and managed by a system. This can take time.
This means that there is a possibility of a “pending state” where a change has been saved to the system but is not actually present on the actual device the user intends to update.
Historically, device provisioning interfaces have underrepresented these pending states. This was done in interest of keeping things simple. The compromise, of course, was that the actual setting management activity was hidden behind the scenes or presented elsewhere in a somewhat disconnected and complicated fashion. This, as you might suspect, risks making it unclear to users what the actual settings on the device are at certain points in a workflow.
Key in the design of this feature are new interface patterns designed to express to the user these very change and pending states.
The approach I designed boasts a couple key traits:
- The user is not bothered with any pending or change information until there is such a state to report.
- The user just needs to react to clear and standard text formatting conventions to understand change states. There is no complex language to parse or exotic interface elements to come to terms with.
Further, these new interface patterns (and the findings used to create them) have informed and enhanced other device provisioning features and tools.