Cloud Platform Business Unit, VMware Inc.
VMware's Central User Experience group is tasked with defining, designing and validating the user experience for a range of VMware products. In the summer of 2015, I interned for Kathryn Murrell's team, which was responsible for the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), including vSphere Suite, vRealize Suite, vCloud Air, Site Recovery Manager, and VSAN.
A key issue in my group was how advanced users of VMware's datacenter management products would perceive or accept solutions proposed, recommended, or enacted by these systems. I was tasked with creating a model for user trust that could be used to situate discussions and seed designer understanding of this issue.
I conducted several interviews, sat in on a number of design meetings for an as yet unannounced product, and observed a blind focus group session with over a dozen high-level system administrators who discussed desirable features of virtual server management software and their challenges with it.
The technique I used to frame my findings was the experience map: a graphical representation of all stages of a process that includes user touchpoints, thoughts, feelings and action. Unlike a traditional experience map, in which the X axis represents the chronology of a journey from pre- to post-execution, my X axis represented the relationship between a user and the system along a continuum of trust: from a cool, cautious interaction through a slow warming to a sense of reliance on the system and justified trust in its actions.
Quotes in red represent challenges the user is struggling with at each stage of the relationship, while quotes in green indicate the desired outcome in case of a sound intervention on the system's part. The headings above the chart indicate the actions taken by the system at every stage, while the verbs in the Trust section describe the system's role in fostering the trust relationship with the user. Product-specific details have been omitted from the map.
The model proved robust and illustrative. Each SDDC product could be situated in one of its columns, and the difference between their current level of trust and the one they desired to achieve was clearly represented. This type of experience map is a tool for aligning the findings, goals and expectations of researchers, designers and programmers on an interdisciplinary UX team.