I handled UI design for several products at FireScope, focusing primarily on the Orchestrate (CMDB) product. My work spanned web, mobile, desktop, and touch-screen applications. My work on the Orchestrate product was referred to by industry analysts as 'the easiest-to-use CMDB ever.'

I also spearheaded the mobile initiative, designing 8 mobile apps, including the first mobile CMDB application.

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Real Artists Ship.

You don’t always have the benefit of a blank slate and an exclusive focus on quality. At FireScope, we had already acquired a CMDB product from another company by the time I started on it. The original acquisition was clearly not designed with a focus on usability or user-friendliness.

A team of programmers and I worked for 6 months, transforming an old-school web application written by student programmers into a sleek, Ajax driven browser application to hit our launch date.

Throughout the entire life of the project, I was the primary programmer and sole UI designer.

Information is Beautiful.

Confifiguration Management Databases have to deal with a large amount of information from very disparate data sources. Coming up with elegant ways to handle and make sense of this information is a complex and neverending challenge. I made the decision early on that, while our competitors may leave data crunching to the realm of APIs and consultant programmers, FireScope Orchestrate would take a very visual approach to data manipulation. Heavy use of visual information design, live previews, and guided processes helped make Orchestrate one of the few CMDBs in the world that could be up and running in hours instead of days.

High Performance

While Orchestrate occupied a large part of my focus at FireScope, I was also responsible for UI Design for the rest of the product suite as well, including business service management (BSM) and anlytics suites.

BSM was much more established when I arrived at FireScope, so taking a radical redesign approach wasn’t going to be possible. Instead, I focused on making small UI Improvements as both time and practicality permitted.

The Analytics Suite was a desktop client. I was asked to help develop an intuitive drag and drop interface. I delivered a complete concept within 5 days, and assisted the Java developers with implementing it in time for a trade show.

First of a Kind.

I oversaw the design and development of the first mobile CMDB application ever. Designed for the iPhone, Android, and later the iPad. I finished the original iPhone application in one week. I finished the iPad port in one night.

Taking on Mobile Enterprise.

One of the primary functions of a CMDB is handling and approval of Requests for Change. In a large enterprise, there can be dozens of these per day, and even critical operations cannot be performed without RFC approval. This puts an enormous burden on those tasked with approving them, as even short term unavailability can have dire consequences. Orchestrate Mobile freed IT Operations Managers by allowing them to review and approve RFCs from the road or airport. Several customers bought the product just for that.

There’s no ‘i’ in Team.

While I provided programming on early builds of the mobile apps, most of the actual development was done by outside contractors. This meant defining the specification in a way that largely non- visual programmers could easily work with. In addition to cutting artwork assets, I provided detailed, annotated visual specifications, complete communications format documents, and visual storyboards to alleviate confusion.

Due to the ease of communication between design and dev, we were able to deliver pixel-perfect applications in days instead of months. All totaled, I oversaw the development of 8 mobile apps, including 3 iPhone apps, 3 iPad apps, and 2 Android apps.
Tyler Vano <tyler.vano@gmail.com>
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