I am looking at examples of well designed and easy to use log viewers as some examples for a web application I am working on.

The web application has a logging system that logs events on various severity levels: critical, error, warning and info. Along with that, some errors may have a filename and line number stored. Others will have an ID that points to an object (could be a user, a group, anything) in the system.

I have searched for interesting and easy to use log viewers but they all seem to be a list of time sorted messages with a few columns representing other pieces of related data. Some might have controls to filter the logs, and some might even have a search box for quick filter.

For example:

enter image description here

Did you ever across any log viewers that does not have an interface that fits into the traditional 'mould' of log viewers and exhibits superior UX?

3 Answers 3


Who is the target audience for the log viewer? And why would they be looking at the log?

Someone who needs to fix an issue needs to see all the information. For someone who wants to check the status before potentially raising the issue with some who will fix it, you could show a lot less detail.

You might want to look at a reporting and / or dashboard solution. With your fixed format it should be easy to setup. Dashboard reports can have click through to more detail such as the optional file name and line number errors you mentioned.


I have been using Logsaw. It is not a breakthrough in log viewing but offers some features that improve the user experience: you can easily recognize the log levels with an icon (avoiding red and yellow lines combines as in the example above), apply quick filters (hide previous entries to the one selected), define advanced filtering (filtering criteria you can reuse) and manage columns easily.

Logsaw filtering capabilities


+1 to Leah's answer,you need to define who your target users and customize your log viewer accordingly. For a high level view a simplified view would be to just have :

1) a listing of the number of active processes (I am taking a theoretical example here) 2) the number of functional processes 3) The number of issues which are not system warnings 4) Critical issues

All of the above could be displayed in a simple table format like this

enter image description here

  • Maybe. Or maybe you need the time-ordering ("Oh, we always see a warning before a critical!"). Talk to your users! Jan 4, 2012 at 20:36
  • 1
    @AlexFeinman I didnt really get what you meant with regards to the time ordering,can you please elaborate. Thanks.
    – Mervin
    Jan 4, 2012 at 22:35
  • In this case, every time there is a critical, it is preceded by a warning. Maybe that's important--maybe criticals preceded by warnings have a different meaning than ones that are not. You don't know what's important without involving users. Summarizing things the way you do above throws away a lot of information--which could be good or could be bad. Jan 5, 2012 at 13:52

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