Instance Upgrade Experience


Three UX Designers, 7 engineers


Interaction designer responsible for requirement gathering, developing wireframes and mockups, flowcharts, leading review meetings with stakeholders.


Wireframing, prototyping, usability testing, hosting meetings, iterating based on feedback, collaboration


Sketch, Qualtrics


Upgrades are essential in getting the latest and greatest updates with a particular software. Just as how one upgrades their laptop or phone software, in order to utilize the most up-to-date security features or new UI features, it is critical to consume the latest software. Upgrading the software is as crucial, for data management and security.


Upgrades are a tedious process, and it is important for the backup admin to perform upgrades so that the software running on the instance (application) is the latest and greatest version. They need a simple and intuitive way to upgrade their instance so that the instance can be up and running quickly and the backup admin can perform other tasks.


The instance upgrade wizard provides a simple upgrade experience. There is informative messaging throughout the upgrade process to inform the backup admin what is happening and guides them through the entire process.


Graphics by Blush


  • To provide the backup admin with updates of the entire upgrade process so that they can track it
  • To make the flow simple, intuitive, and informative
  • Empower the backup admin with the information they need to have a successful upgrade


We discussed the feature with the PM, architect, and engineering team to understand the majority use cases and the technical aspects. Since this was an established product, we had to incorporate this upgrade feature into an already existing product flow. What we learned from our stakeholders was that:

  • The backup admin needs a 24-hour period to test the upgrade
  • They need to be informed about what is happening during the upgrade progress


There were two main use cases to consider in order to upgrade:

  1. If the application is running – the admin should be notified that their current processes are running and they will be stopped to perform the upgrade
  2. If the application is stopped – the upgrade will proceed


Upgrade Process

Note: Once the upgrade is complete, instance is in a pending upgrade state and the backup admin has a 24-hour period to either commit the upgrade changes to the current version or rollback to the previous version the instance was on.

Commit or Rollback Upgrade Process


I created paper sketches to validate the flow – I met with the PM and architect to validate the technical aspect as well as discuss the lo-fi wireframes.


After validating the wireframes, I translated them into hi-fi mockups.

Initiating the upgrade

Select the instance and then select the upgrade operation in order to launch the upgrade process.

Upgrade wizard

Provide helpful information and guidance to perform the upgrade on an instance.

Commit or Roll back instance

After instance has been upgraded, the backup admin can choose to either commit the upgrade or roll back the upgrade to the previous version.


My teammate and I, along with our user researcher, tested the designs by recruiting participants from our customer database.

We specifically screened to find participants with background knowledge and experience configuring, deploying, and managing appliances.

During the user research sessions, I actively took notes and asked questions to the participants.

We tested 18 people through a Qualtrics survey combined with Adobe XD prototypes.

Highlights from the sessions were:

  • The upgrade flow was perceived as being straightforward and the UI messaging is helpful and easy to understand
  • Different use cases have different requirements on the post-upgrade time window
    • A 24-hour testing period suffices for some, and on the other hand, some needed less time for testing
  • Actions on the instance details page are useful

We tested our two options of the commit and roll back action in the details page in order to understand which resonated with our users.

Option 1 (left) – A toolbar that showcases the same interaction in the System topology page.
Option 2 (right) – Have the two actions commit and roll back upfront.

After we gathered all of the data, we had a debrief.

What we learned about the two options:

Option 1: 12 participants preferred

Option 1

Option 2: 5 participants preferred

Option 2


Final Proposal

I iterated the designs based on the feedback from the usability testing. I collaborated with my team and we reviewed the updates at the readout with the PM and engineering team.

We proposed combining both Option 1 and Option 2 because the roll back and commit actions are important and that they should be upfront. Additionally, having the toolbar accessible, on the details page, is essential because the user needs to perform actions on the instance. Knowing what information the user needs upfront, gave me the confidence to know which design to go with.


Uncovering what information and actions were needed during the upgrade process was a vital part in the success of the design. It is necessary to ask the interviewees if they have all of the information that they need to make a decision confidently. Asking this, allowed us to learn that our messaging was straightforward and that we needed to combine our design options for the commit and roll back.

Watch me demoing the implemented feature.

Go to 08:20 to see me explaining the implemented design in the product build.

View other projects