I am trying to create a SSD dashboard for our software applications that show all the services listed and their current statuses similar to http://status.aws.amazon.com/ or http://www.google.com/appsstatus#hl=en&v=status.

Furthermore there is the ability for a user to select which services he would like to receive email or SMS notifications if the service's status changes. This is quite simple if he is notified purely on the whether the status changes for a particular service as displayed in the image below. See image below.

enter image description here

The issue arises when trying to do more complex notifications (not purely based on whether the status changes). There is a need to do a more 'advanced' setup of a notification whereby the user gets notified if certain criteria are met or not met.

For example - Notify the user if Service 1 status changes to Recovering immediately AND send an update every hour, even if the status does not change.

The user could want different levels of notifications for different statuses on different services.

I do not want to over complicate the UI for basic settings, so thought of hiding these settings behind an "advanced" button i.e. display advanced button if a service is selected to be notified on. Clicking on advanced will expose more settings per status per service, default to "immediately", but can be changed. If we change it, save it and hide these settings, this may be confusing to the user as he can see that a notification is set up, but will not know on which parameters. Is this acceptable?

Does anyone have an idea on how to present the UI for complex notification set up based on various parameters without complicating the basic notification set-up?

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure how complex your rules can get, but this sounds comparable to the problem of rules editors in email clients. A common approach there is to display an extensible sequence of panes, one for each term in the rule. The nice part about that is that the interface starts out simple, and grows more elaborate depending on how complicated the user's requirements are.

I quite like the idea of simply using a text representation of the rule, with hyperlinks to edit the parameters (like in Outlook, although other aspects of that interface are less clear). This is also likely to be simpler to implement in an HTML application.


2 suggestions:

  • The advanced link might be better described with something like customize, or custom rules. Using the word "advanced" may put off less technical users (it makes it sound like something difficult).
  • When one or more custom notification rules are set up for a service, I would replace the whole row of checkboxes on the overview with a link to the customization screen (i.e. whatever is behind your current advanced link). You don't have to display details on the main screen, but it should be very clear from the main screen which services have customizations.
  • I second that discouragement of "advanced". It implies that you'll break something if you use those settings wrong, which discourages some people, while others take it as a challenge and make obscure changes they can't find again later. Either way it fails to tell you anything about what it's hiding, so users pretty much have to click it just to find out...
    – bobtato
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 1:59

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