AOL, Business Technolgies Release Management

Notes: This was an interesting site to design. It was for use by internal staff members at AOL, but the customer wanted two things: 1) the site needed to look better than the typical, corporate internal site because it was going to be used by hundreds of people, and 2) it needed to be easy to maintain. It also had to have an open-ended design that allowed numerous, diverse tools and features to be fielded as part of the site. I went with a flexible and easy-to-extend tabbed design. Note also that the center menu on the left changes based on the selected tab.

Dynamic Metrics

Notes: JFreeChart is an open source Java library that can be used to dynamically generate metrics for a web site. The screen shot above is a dynamically generated chart showing software installation problems for various AOL groups. The chart integrated data from an Oracle database and a Sybase database. The Search component allowed users to re-generate the chart for any desired timeframe.

AOL Install Calendar

Notes: The Install Calendar is an application used by almost 600 internal AOL employees that highlights scheduled software and hardware installs, as well as events such as moratoriums that may impact the install schedule. Color-coded entries provide at-a-glance information; the application also includes extensive drill-down features to provide detailed information as needed. The tool was available as a popup window launched from AOL's internal BTRM web site.

This online tool presented some interesting challenges in the realm of information design. The site had to make a great deal of information accessible, but also support the capability to drill down and view all the nitty-gritty details. The yellow boxes show software installs by type; the green boxes show operations tickets (generally hardware installs and config changes); the pink boxes show corporate moratoriums, during which installs are not allowed; and the light blue boxes show restricted maintenance windows, which represent periods where certain groups prohibit installs.