Earlier this year the Landscape Team met with and Alejandra and Dominic from the design team at Mark’s house in the Isle of Man.  We set out to redesign Landscape to make it more functional, more beautiful and to embrace Canonical’s branding.  The current user interface in Landscape has grown from ideas that were formulated in late 2006.  It’s served us well, but as we’ve added more and more functionality to Landscape it’s become rough around the edges.  We’re happy to announce that we have an opt-in beta of the new look that you can see by clicking the ‘Try our new look!’ link in the banner.

We started by examining our information architecture and broke the system down into four distinct groups: account, systems management, cloud management and support.  We chose this arrangement because it matches the functional areas we have today and puts a structure in place that will support the functionality we have planned for the future.

These are presented as four top-level navigation items at the top of the page, with a small triangle showing you which section you’re in.  The main account page provides an overview of your account and calls attention to outstanding alerts, activities that need to be approved and activities that are in progress.  This is the first page you see when you sign into Landscape.   The toolbar provides access to account settings for alerts, access groups, package profiles and other functionality.  We’ve added a sidebar to show secondary information relevant to the section you’re looking at.

One of the key workflows in Landscape is to select computers and then perform actions with that selection.  We’ve made the current selection much more clear by providing prominent feedback about the computers you’ve selected.

The ’4 computers selected’ element is present on all systems management pages and, when clicked, takes you back to the list of computers.  As you can see, the items in the toolbar are focused on computer-related functionality.  The tags you’ve created are displayed in the sidebar and can be used to filter the list of computers you’re presented, to make selection quick and effective.  Search, also available in the sidebar, can be used to further refine the list of computers shown.

As you can see, we’ve removed most of the icons that were prevalent in the older design, to provide a cleaner look and feel.  Icons are now used to draw your attention to significant details, giving you better at-a-glance information.  For example, the package dashboard shown above is focused on relevant information and free of clutter.

We’ve worked on making navigation quick and focused each area on relevant tasks.  As part of the redesign we’ve spent quite a bit of time working on performance and Landscape is noticeably faster as a result.  We hope you enjoy our new look.  Please send us your feedback to help us continue to improve the design and usability of Landscape!