Spiceworks' current software suite relies on native Windows applications. This led to user friction and low adoption rates. For example, if a user needed to run a simple port scan, they would have to download Network Monitor—sophisticated network communication software—wait for installation, complete set up, and then run the application. Users were unlikely to download this complex software to achieve a simple task. By creating solutions which allowed Spiceworks' products to be more easily accessible, we can raise adoption rates, increase the user base, and help users solve their problems more easily.
Through the process of user interviews and review of active datasets, we discovered 3 initial workflow issues which were not easily accessible, or did not exist in current Spiceworks software—looking up IP addresses, scanning for ports, and calculating network allocation. These were all actions that our current and potential users were performing a few times month, but were often done irregularly. Meaning the tool should be easily accessible, but have a low barrier of entry to use. This led to the need of browser based tools.
Testing was an important part of making sure we built tools users were satisfied with. For example, when designing Subnet Calculator we discovered that a key issue with subnet calculating for our users was that most lacked a complete comprehension of how subnetting actually works, and no tools today addressed this issue. After testing a few different approaches, we found that giving them a visualization of a subnet as an interactive slider helped their comprehension immensely.
The final implementations of the tools were designed to be simple and easy to use on the go. Users loved how easy it was to now use tools such as port scanning and IP Lookup without leaving Spiceworks, and were immediately were drawn to Subnet Calculator for its different approach to subnetting.