We at Catchpoint are always striving to help our customers improve their products’ user experience, because, as we believe that “the experience is the point.” With a motto like that, you can bet we take the usability and effectiveness of our own platform very seriously, and are constantly striving to deliver a world-class user experience in the Catchpoint Portal. With that in mind, we have spent the better part of the last few years redesigning Catchpoint Portal from the ground up. Today, with the Allegro release, we are thrilled to announce that our new UX platform, Symphony, is now Generally Available.
Symphony isn’t just a fresh coat of paint on an old UX – we have completely redesigned our platform to provide a modern, intuitive interface to help you get the answers you need quickly and more easily than ever. The improvements include an updated look and feel, as well as numerous changes “under the hood,” all designed around helping you gather actionable insights from your data. The Allegro release represents a key moment, as we are now able to end Symphony’s “preview” status and recommend that all customers make the switch to Symphony going forward.
The reasoning behind our rebuilding
Catchpoint was founded over a decade ago, and originally the platform was built purely around active/ synthetic monitoring. As we grew, and the market and technology matured, we expanded our offerings to include Real User Observability, Endpoint Observability, and more comprehensive Network Observability. We were pleased to be able to offer such a feature-rich toolset, but, as with many fast-growing software companies, the development of multiple complex products in parallel resulted in a mix of disparate tools and a sometimes unwieldy experience of the UI.
A few years ago, we decided it was time for a total rebuild of the platform’s UX. We needed to modernize and streamline our technology stack on the back end, unify the design and architecture of our various solutions, build in tools to make future development easier, and bring everything together in a modern user interface based on leading design principles. The result is Symphony, and we’re very proud of how it has turned out.
Building an iterative design process
The whole point of Catchpoint’s existence is to improve user experience, so when designing Symphony, our users’ perspectives and opinions were the primary focus. We collect extensive qualitative data on how our customers use our products – which features they use most often, how long they spend on each screen, etc. – and we use that data to inform and prioritize our development efforts. We also regularly solicit feedback via polls and end-user interviews, as well as monitoring trends in our support tickets, to see how people use our systems and where they may have issues. All of that data has fed into our development process from the start.
When we began building Symphony, we established an iterative design process in which we would build a beta version of a feature in Symphony, make it available via a limited preview, and then conduct user-feedback sessions to see what they liked and what needed improvement. We have followed this process over the course of the last 15 releases, conducting over 100 feedback sessions, and will continue to do so as we add more features to the Symphony platform. We brought an extra level of user focus to some of the major features introduced in Symphony, such as Control Center, for which we hired a third-party vendor that specializes in objective, independent software testing. We knew that for such a major change, we needed to get it right.
A focus on experience observability
Since Catchpoint came into existence, our industry has evolved and our focus has shifted from “pure monitoring” to “comprehensive observability”. You may have heard these terms before, and it might seem like they mean essentially the same thing. However, there is an important difference, and it informs every aspect of the design of Symphony. “Monitoring” refers to the simple collection and reporting of measurements. The real value of monitoring is only realized if you can collect and analyze data from all the systems that impact digital user experience and transform it into insights and actions, so that you can deliver the best possible user experience.
This is where Symphony excels – Catchpoint’s wide variety of observers and industry-leading public and private node network actively collect and analyze the data, and Symphony helps you see what it all means in terms of the actual user experience. Take the Smartboard, for instance. This Symphony feature not only shows you how the performance of a test, app, node, or endpoint is trending; its AI-driven “spotlight” feature analyzes the data and calls out any potential issues using plain language. A table and line-chart is one thing, but getting actionable analysis of that data empowers you to take action.
Another example, just introduced in Allegro, is the new Experience Score for Tests. This composite metric takes multiple key measurements from each test and uses them to calculate a standardized score on a scale of 0-100, enabling you to quickly gauge overall impact of each test on a user’s experience. Again, Symphony takes you from raw data to direct insight into your users’ experience of your systems.
Want to experience its power first-hand?
All told, Symphony is the result of hundreds of thousands of hours of effort by more than 150 talented and dedicated individuals. Allegro isn’t the end of course, and we can’t wait to show you what we’re building next!