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Zabbix Usability

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This page intends to list various usability issues with Zabbix frontend - user interface issues. Some of these can be considered small and easily fixable, some might require a global redesign.

Usability-related issues that involve other components may be listed in the Zabbix_Usability_General page.

Minor issues with clear solutions

  • Priority Currently active section title is duplicated up to 3 times: main sub navigation, section body title, body sub title. Limiting the title amount to only one would make the UI less cluttered. Body title is written in uppercase. This significantly decreases readability for no reason. Furthermore, it could be solved in CSS, rather than adding an additional translation string. Copyright and other footer info should stick to the bottom, otherwise it jumps up and down depending on the amount of content on the page
  • Priority Forms may have unsaved changes and main Add/Update button loses those changes w/o any warning (ZBXNEXT-1994)
solution does not seem to be 100% clear at this time - maybe this should be moved to the "More complicated issues with solutions" section ? --Richlv (talk) 19:35, 8 December 2014 (EET)
  • Inconsistent entity selection. Primarily template selection in host properties. (ZBX-7341)
  • Existing hosts in Monitoring -> Discovery are not clickable (ZBXNEXT-165)
  • Some tables lack headers (user media listing) (ZBXNEXT-998)
  • Some tables have not been redesigned to use Remove links, they still have checkboxes + "delete selected" button (user media listing, bar reports etc) (partially - ZBXNEXT-998)
  • Element selection field should be right below type selection dropdown in the map element properties popup (ZBXNEXT-161)
  • In some tables links that call out a contextual overlay window have the same appearance as ordinary links vs dotted underline. Example: Monitoring -> Overview
  • Visual presentation of tables can be simplified. We could benefit from increased readability by eliminating heavy borders and background color
    Note: Vague. Specific instances should be listed
    • Table layout and visual presentation across the whole UI.
  • Advanced labels in map properties hides one dropdown and adds 5 different dropdowns. There is no indication that those 5 dropdowns are now connected with that checkbox. Unmarking the checkbox results in a completely unexpected disappearance of those dropdowns. The dropdowns should be grouped and there should be a visual indication that they are controlled by the checkbox above them (similar to the automatic icon selection in the map element properties popup) (ZBX-9108)
  • Most selection popups allow to select multiple entities with checkboxes and to choose a single entity by clicking on it. Some do not. Additionally, selected rows are highlighted in some popups but not in others. (ZBX-4173)
  • Incorrect host/template used in popups (ZBX-6669)
  • User macros/variables are not easy to use as there is no way to see what they resolve to (ZBXNEXT-210)
  • By using html5's input types in respective form fields we can improve user experience on mobile/touch devices: different keyboard layouts will be shown automatically depending on the type of input field, i.e., numeric keyboard for specifying a numerical value or a keyboard with dedicated characters for email input.
  • Selecting host group in "Monitoring -> Latest data" with pre-selected host results in empty page (ZBXNEXT-3099)

More complicated issues with solutions

  • Web scenario steps are not mapped to their textual representation (frontend patch available)
  • Deleting a host can silently disable an action; Similar issues exist for other entities (ZBXNEXT-551)
  • The maintenance state of a host is only reflected in some locations
    Note: Vague. Specific instances should be listed
  • The search page could offer a host menu (probably no ticket yet)
  • The "next check" timestamp could be exposed to the user (probably no ticket yet)
  • Maintenance is too complicated for ad-hoc maintenance of a simple host (likely ZBXNEXT-1548)
  • Priority Now the UI is dominated by horizontal blue lines which make the whole interface look more cluttered and heavy. Eliminating them could make the UI look more lightweight and easily perceivable.
  • No way to go back to previous zoom periods in graphs (ZBXNEXT-757 asks for a way to cancel drag-zoom)
  • Add and Select have different visual style and functionality in case (possibly not limited to) of: Configuration -> Actions -> Action -> Operations tab; Configuration -> Hosts -> Host/Create Host; Configuration -> Hosts -> Items -> Action/Create New Item. For example: Add and Select may look both as links and as buttons; Add may act as Select and open a pop-up window
  • In some forms buttons with secondary functionality are grouped into segmented controls. A segmented control comes from the mobile interface world and is a linear set of segments, each of which functions as a button that can display a different view. In other words, serves a different purpose which is misleading. Some bad examples: Configuration -> Hosts -> Triggers. Severity properties and Clone, Delete, Cancel are designed as segmented controls (visually identical) but Clone, Delete and Cancel have a different functionality
  • Zabbix logo is linked to zabbix.com. This is not a standard and predictable behavior. Best practice: a webpage logotype leads to the homepage, in our case this could be Zabbix dashboard. Otherwise it should not be positioned in close proximity to the main navigation.
  • Fixed width input fields make entering/editing a longer piece of information (scripts, etc) rather inconvenient. Possible solution: expand the input field into a textarea on click.
  • Help is not contextual. Now users must know where to search for help on a specific topic because help links always direct them to the main page of Zabbix documentation without any context. Redirecting users to a specific help section would be more appropriate and indeed helpful. In addition to that, implementing quick help tips near some not so self explanatory UI elements could be useful.
    • Linking to specific section in the manual : ZBXNEXT-110
    • Tooltips for buttons / help icons next to all fields : ZBXNEXT-130
  • In some tables there are links that act as a trigger and enable/disable different states. Visually they look identical to ordinary links that redirect user to some other section of the website. Sometimes there may be more than two states that these links trigger and it's not indicated in any way in the UI. User must click through multiple times without knowing what the next state will be. Example: Administration -> Configuration of User Groups
  • A background image must be uploaded separately from the map editing. There could be a convenience feature to upload and use background while editing the map itself. (ZBXNEXT-269)
  • Ability to keep period across multiple graphs (ZBXNEXT-1061)
  • Keep labels always visible Monitoring -> Overview (ZBXNEXT-942)
  • There's no easy way to view all/multiple graphs for the same host or across different hosts (ZBXNEXT-75, ZBXNEXT-1120)

Issues w/o clear solutions

  • Pressing Enter on a form has different effects in different places
  • Priority Navigation dropdowns in the upper right corner are hard to spot for new users and hard to use
    • Main menu does not scale to more than 2 levels. Administration -> General, Administration -> Users, Administration -> Audit, Monitoring -> Screens...
  • Priority Activities like cloning, deleting, clearing item history require either selecting checkbox and then using the main control, or opening entity properties. Maybe an extendable control next to each entity in the list?
  • Priority History navigation might look confusing for a novice Zabbix user: it looks like a traditional bread crumb navigation. Breadcrumbs provide a trail for the user to follow back to the starting or entry point. In our case "breadcrumbs" show a historical trail of recently visited sections in their respective order which is a different behavior of a standard UI pattern. Moreover, usage of breadcrumbs is declining due to the fact that web interfaces are becoming much more dynamic (One Page Interfaces)
unfortunately, "one page" implementations tend to destroy usability in many cases. an example from jira - the suggested bookmark solution to canned responses does not work anymore in recent jira versions because closing the issue happens with a JS "popup", and the comment gets inserted in the issue, not in the "popup" --Richlv (talk) 21:50, 10 December 2014 (EET)
  • Host removal from groups implies adding them to some other group ZBX-1875
  • Action operation editing form is very hard to use and it is not clear what the current state when multiple 'add' subforms are open at the same time (maybe js popups instead of expandable sections ?)
  • Map/screen editing happens by clicking on one link, editing their meta-properties - on an Edit link
    • Screen configuration has a very low level of discovery and ease of use. The use of table based grid makes the UI even more troublesome to operate
    • Also, frontend generates an unneeded error when performing screen redesign ZBX-7501
  • Adding entities to a map is hard - images are added, type is selected, then entity is selected. Adding a larger amount of hosts is complicated
  • IT service configuration is not easily doable - one has to click on entities and then use a popup menu
  • Navigation between configuration and monitoring sections is somewhat complicated. Item configuration can be accessed from latest data, but easy navigation between web scenario, network discovery and other sections is not possible.
  • Graph sizes in screens are not the final sizes - they depend on axis count, on entry count in the legend... (ZBX-7967 and partially ZBX-1121)
  • Screens and maps do not autoscale, they have to be manually designed for each screen resolution. Generating graphs on the frontend using js and canvas would make them resolution independent/scalable. Screen autoscaling - ZBXNEXT-2811
  • Trigger helper popup has a terrible, huge dropdown that lists various trigger function variations
  • Some filters start partial filtering without pushing the "Filter" button which is not a standard behavior for filters: Reports -> Availability report -> change Host groups or Hosts
  • Enabling/disabling all of the controls on a form is different from one form to another. For example, compare dashboard filter with the frontend messaging in the profile
  • Replace pop-up windows with pop-up overlays. Pop-ups may be blocked by the user + this is not a user friendly solution.
which popups are meant here ? the selection ones (browser windows) or javascript confirmation popups ?
the former usually are not blocked if they are caused by direct user interaction as they are in zabbix, the latter are not blocked unless js is blocked completely. additionally, browser window popups allow to use browser search functionality - before this can be considered, all cases where browser search is useful would have to be solved.
--Richlv (talk) 19:19, 8 December 2014 (EET)
  • Refreshing a page after some operation (update, add, delete) attempts to re-do the operation - should not.

Solved

  • Incorrect/confusing pagination behaviour when switching time periods (ZBX-9113)