How can the Azure portal be improved?

Do more in place and use the full screen - avoid horizontal scrolling

Simplify the portal by doing more in place. The horizontal scrolling seems to cause too many, unnecessary clicks, which makes the UI to jump around a lot and quickly becomes overwhelming with so much on the screen at once. It's hard to focus on what's most important and, when there's only one blade, half the screen is empty with critical messages all the way on the other side. Make better use of screen real estate and stop moving things around so much. It's distracting. I love the portal, but all the movement gets in the way. Let us focus on one task at a time and let that use the full screen.

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  • Alan Pulliam commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is the worst UI I have ever seen in 26 years in the software business. Please scrap the horizontal layout.

    This has to be the worst UI I have ever used in over 26 years in the software business. The horizontal scrolling is unbelievably disorienting. I think this is especially true for folks like myself who have to increase the font scaling higher than default. I keep getting half panels showing up. The UI scrolls on its own and I have no idea where I was. I also get panels with both horizontal and vertical scrolling. There is no set reference to keep bearing that remains in view.

  • Jeannie commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The UI is a mess. Seriously. You could easily end up with too many blades and blades that point to previous blades. It's driving me crazy. Get rid of horizontal scrolling and blades, please.

  • Andrew commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The screen gets very cumbersome very quickly. If I was using a larger display or a touch screen system it might not feel so awkward navigating in the new interface. Perhaps an option (or default setting) to reduce the tiles automatically when you select something. That would save real estate and still be simple to get back to the previous or initial tile.

  • Joe McGlynn commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Make better use of the space.

    I think the blades are only slightly better than the older portal.
    Using a default HP Probook 650 I'm missing real estate that may be on higher definition monitors.

    Monitor on my laptop is as follows
    15.6" diagonal LED-backlit HD anti-glare SVA flat (1366 x768)
    Not the best, but not the worst.

    In the old portal, i wonder what all the wasted space is for....especially when compared to the new portal.

    Old portal - space in red. Why can't I have that space and view all the information, because I can't copy/ paste it out.
    Image attached.

    On the new portal - I have lots of space for the IP settings, but poor access to the monitoring pane?, Why not give the space to the necessary items we need the real estate for.
    Image attached

  • Darin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Thao, understandably you want detail rather than a general complaint due to frustration, but as someone who's been watching this portal since the beginning, I think you need to adopt a different tact. The portal is riddled with bugs and from my perspective has not increased in quality nearly since the beginning. New issues are created as fast as new functionality. You've got to get ahead of this and increase QA efforts. This portal is the most contentious element within the entire Azure ecosystem! Not good considering it's supposed to become the primary entry point for Azure based projects!

  • Charles Phillips commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    To be fair I have a fairly large screen at work (2K monitor) and the new portal interface looks cool on that, right up until you drill down enough to need to horizontally scroll. As soon as you scroll left it takes on a mind of it's own, often scrolling back and forth endlessly on it's own.

    What is wrong with a vertical scroll? it's a paradigm we are all used to!

  • Mike commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    +1 on the horizontal scrolling. It is much harder to use than the last portal. Also The colors in the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom have such a small amount of contrast that the scroll tab is practically invisible so it wasn't at all clear to me how to scroll back through the numerous horizontal panes.

  • Bill McCann commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I suppose I could simply vote for one of the many discussions on scrolling; and I probably will. But this particular thread is an admission that building the tiles out horizontally is simply bad design. In the same way that the Windows 10 start menu (when full screen) scrolls vertically, the portal tiles should scroll vertically too.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I'm not sure that I agree. I find a lot of good functionality. I think if it was just a smidge faster there wouldn't be much to worry about.

  • Pablo Sebastián Velazco commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This may be a big change that will benefit both the portal (speed) and it will make provide a simpler, appealing, UX for the user.

    I think the drag (right/left) blade(s) functionality is great, but there's one thing you should add. Because one of the biggest problems of the portal is, quite often, that we end up having too many blades opened.

    This makes the portal slower (too many elements to render on the screen), and it is confusing sometimes.

    My idea:
    Add a special icon/section on the vertical scrollbars,
    or a keyboard + mouse combination,
    or use the right button...
    and, while dragging in this special way, morph the Blades slowly into a thinner blade, make it a column with relevant key icons and simple grouped words.

    For example: Have 5 related blades opened; the last blade (the one that is one the right side) is a "Properties" Blade from a "Database" blade that is the first blade.

    In order to avoid an extremely large and confusing "blade set", simplify them visually (IF the user wants to) and progressively convert the blades on the left, the previous blades (except the one in focus) into columns, with key icons/words.

    And one click in some specially designated place in the columns (minimized blades) will expand 1 or all of them if there's need to,

    Finally, the minimized blades will automatically (and progressively) expand if the last opened blade is closed.

    This will help UX in my experience.

  • Grant Norwood commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Do not auto-scroll left and right, it is disorienting, it hides items I still want to see, I find myself jarred out of my current context, and it makes navigation absolutely terrible. The "pinning" does not work as users expect it to work, and the entire portal is more confusing now than ever.

    The old management portal was so much more intuitive and so much easier to navigate quickly.

  • Joshua Toon commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree. Years of computer use trains you to scroll down for more content. I'm really trying here, but I just keep finding that it takes longer and makes less sense to constantly expand to the right. Pinnable shortcuts...yes. Scroll to the right? Didn't Windows 8 make it clear that people just aren't interested in that? (It was the original metro interaction model.)

    Resource manager groups should be a top level construct and then present all of the "stuff" you can add to it. Top level would let you choose between resource groups or create/delete new ones...actual resource creation should be "inside" those.

    Please, please, stop scrolling to the right.

  • Mike commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I just can't believe that Microsoft continues to believe that this is an interface for technical folks. I'm not sure how they do their research anymore if they have to ask us for what is wrong.

    They took our colors away from Visual Studio a few years ago, saying it would allow us to focus on the code. Now we have a very colorful cartoonish style interface that puts everything in little windows forcing us to scroll around a looking for stuff all the time. I now focus on NOT using the Preview portal. They obviously got rid of the nitwits that did the VS redesign but I think I would rather see their UI design on the portal rather than seeing what the new folks are doing.

    Don't even get me started on horizontal many apps in history do horizontal scrolling, there is a reason they don't.

  • Mika commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I just could not agree more with this message. I wish I could put all my remaining votes to this. Please Microsoft... READ this message as many times as you need to fully understand the message in it.

  • Laurent Lavigne commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The new portal requires side scrolling to display the new bits of data as you're drilling down.
    Let's say you want to add a new VM while keeping a list of existing VMS, you know, to know what to call your added VM. In the old portal you could because it's so compact. The new one hogs the entire page and requires extra lateral scrolling.
    Each column is super large and the layout of each column is less compact than the old one, so you end up with less information on-screen which requires... more scrolling.
    Also the neat things about columns in the old portal is they'd compact themselves when you're dealing with the next column, so the list of VM, as you access each one individually, a list of the other VM would neatly compact itself to the left, without superfluous information.
    See this attached image.

  • Nathan Smith commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I vote against making it responsive. It's a bad design to begin with, we shouldn't encourage its continuation.

  • Kevin Buchs commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    New portal will open columns that are too wide and push important information off the left side. This attached flash video shows the problem when comparing a wider browser window and then one narrowed. Using Chrome.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The first version of the portal was rather good, it was made in SilverLight and looked much like a traditional mmc-based admin GUI, that is, a tree-view to the left and content to the right. This version gave you a complete overview of your entire configuration on one screen, you could expand the nodes to see just the tings your were interested of. You could expand, for example a cloud service, down to the individual sites within a role, yes, in this version you could have multiple sites in each role.

    Then we got the current portal. It was a huge setback from the SilverLight portal. Instead of using SilverLight it is made in HTML and is a pain ********** to work with. Productivity goes down as there is a constant asking to reenter password which interrupt whatever you are doing, bugs that tell you that you logged out when you just logged in, notification messages that when you click to read them crashes the site, logs you out and prevent you from logging in again. Slow page loading times and no overview of what your configuration/setup looks like.

    Now with the next portal it looks like you want us to use touch input with the site. Even less information is displayed on the screen. Instead of scrolling up/down we should now scroll sideways. Exactly who ordered this "feature"? Where did you hear an overwhelming demand from customers, administrators, partners and developers for an administration tool that scroll sideways?
    On top of this we have a webpage where back doesn't work, where links can't be opened in a new tab/window, where the information density is so low that when a list has 7 items in it needs to scroll and where content does not adapt to screen size, constant problem with content just disappearing from the screen, extremely limited right-click support, no drag/drop support, still no back support (or not working) and no sorting of columns.
    Also there is no predictability in the GUI, every click is a surprise...will it slide in something on top or will it completely navigate away from where I am and I will lose everything I am working on?
    We are practically back to Windows 1 (1985), which also couldn't manage overlapping windows.

    It seems like someone got the idea that it is normal end-users who will be using the portal and not professionals that know what they are doing and need a tool for productivity.
    Imagine giving an ERP user a GUI like this...go talk to the guys developing Dynamics AX and ask them if they will consider using your framework for their next version and listen to their answer why they won't even consider it.
    Administrators and developers NEED the same productivity as an ERP user, and not a GUI suitable for iPad games for very small children.

    Anyone that has developed in both SilverLight/WPF/WinForms/MFC (a real application development environment) and HTML/CSS (a GUI layout framework) know that with HTML you end up spending most of your time doing stuff that, from an users perspective, is not productive.

    The C# with its language features and strong typing along with the .NET framework is to HTML/JavaScript/CSS what The Google Self-Driving Car is to a blueprint and a workshop.

    It is EXTREMELY arrogant and disrespectful to give us a administration tool like this!

  • Koren commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Justin: its not just smaller device, I have such resolution with a 15", we don't have Mac Books here :(
    I think there is a lot of laptops that have this kind of resolution.

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