Inside DreamHost

Control Panel Design Update

DreamHost Control Panel
Written by Matt Felten

Your DreamHost control panel is looking a little different today. Last year we launched an all new look—a new logo and a redesigned dreamhost.com. We’re now ready to reveal the first phase of bringing that look to the control panel. *the crowd cheers wildly*

Looking back through our history books, the last time we made any major design change to our control panel was in 2007. That was the year the original iPhone came out. A lot of things have changed in 8 years. The “mobile web” became a thing. Design has gone from bubbly web 2.0 to skeuomorphic to flat. Pluto isn’t a planet anymore. My parents are on Facebook. It’s time to change it up a bit.

Change? Gross. Why?

Starting this project, we had a number of goals. The most obvious goal being all that work we did last year on our brand refresh. We want a cohesive brand. You, our beloved customer, should feel like you’re at DreamHost no matter where in the system you go. We’ve refined our look and that needs to happen to the control panel as well.

The second goal is to be responsive. The screens you use to manage your websites are different sizes than ours. Screen sizes aren’t just mobile, tablet and desktop either. There are millions of variations between those three as well. We want your experience to be great no matter what size screen you’re on.

Another goal is speed. Websites are getting larger and larger, and that’s unfortunate. What can we do to make sure you can get to where you need to go without having to wait around?

Lastly, we wanted to set up a good foundation for the iterations we have planned for the future. We wanted to make sure that what we are doing is the least disruptive it can be. No one wants to learn a new interface just because some finicky designer with weird hair got fancy in Photoshop.

Ok. On with it. What’s new?

All right, all right. I was just trying to build dramatic tension…

With all that in mind, we set out with Phase One. We took all the surrounding parts of our control panel, the header and navigation, and reworked them. Streamlined them. Simplified them. Really gave them a good talking to.

dh

We brought the new DreamHost aesthetic to them, yes. We made it responsive so the control panel will work better on any size device you’re using (except watches and weird things like that. Come on.) Load time decreased by about 4% and we have a really great base to work from to continue streamlining your experience.

 

DreamHost Control Panel Mobile

Mission. Accomplished.

Wow. Cool! What’s next?

Great question! You thought we’d stop here? We have a lot more work ahead of us. The control panel is huge, like mowing-a-football-field-with-nail-clippers huge. We have a lot of great ideas though. We’re looking at usage metrics, user journeys, streamlining, consolidating and reorganizing.

Jump into the control panel and take a look. We think you’re going to like it.

 

About the author

Matt Felten

Lead UX Designer at DreamHost. Loves pizza, bicycles and Magic the Gathering. Not a fan of spiders and mayonnaise.

14 Comments

  • My first response was ah well, there goes my favorite web-based hosting panel. I should have more initial confidence! It seriously rocks! Intuitive as ever and easy on the eyes. Keep on DH.

  • You guys… its been like, forever.
    Congratulations on the new look. I know it may take usa wee bit to learn, but even at first glimpse it is sleek, clean, and intuitive. Nice!
    RT ~ Customer since ’07

  • I love the look and clean feel of it all, but I really want the little user configured box of quicklinks at the top left back. It has been years since I went through the million things on the left side menu and all the stuff I regularly use is now buried in there. Can you bring back my quicklinks?

    Otherwise though, I think it is awesome. It is just enough change at one time to be easy to handle. All the left menu items are the same thing as always so I am not totally learning a new product.

    Hopefully when you get into the list views of things you let us have more than 50 things in a list at one time 🙂 we have high speed internet now.

    Just so you know though, you have the best control panel ever, don’t #!&$ it up.

    Much love!

  • Overall I like the new design . . . but I miss the little “Account Status” button that would show me info about my account and servers etc. . . . Can you please put that back somewhere?

    And I never even remember there’s a DH blog until I get an email that mentions it . . . so maybe there should be a link to the blog from the panel? or a widget with recent posts (ala the wordpress dashboard)? Seems that the home dashboard of the new DH panel is more about selling us things “What’s new to buy from us” than about providing us information . . . I realize you’re a business, but still . . . I go to the panel “to do” not “to buy”.

  • Honestly?

    The ultra low contrast is murder. If it’s not readable, all else is a fail for my needs. If you can fix this, I might actually be able to read and see some of the positive changes to the web panel.

    To get a clue, please see:

    http://contrastrebellion.com/

    If my post seems rude and inconsiderate, then you now know how it felt for me to be greeted with the web panel change to ultra low contrast.

    Please provide a higher contrast option for the 40+ crowd. You guys will be there within 10 years. I hope it doesn’t take that long for you to get why this inconsiderate trend in web design is a problem for many of us.

    • I agree, the contrast is too low and some of the fonts are WAY too small (like the Where? and Launched n months ago). I guess I’ll have to write a custom style sheet so I can read the thing. I never had this problem with the previous Panel.

      Also, stick the “Edit Profile | Logout” links up at the top so we don’t have to scroll.

      Making the panel responsive is a plus.

  • Hello,

    I am a customer of DH for years and I am still waiting for a solution to my problem. The panel hardly ever appears when I click on login and when it does, it is distorted and useless. It is very difficult indeed to even contact support. I repeat I am a customer of DH for years and I am still waiting for a solution to my problem. My next communication goes to the CEO’s intray.

  • I’ve been a dreamhost customer for about 8 years. Very happy with the new fresh look. I immediately started digging through to see if any functionality had changed, but it seems to be the same.

    The one thing that I’ve been aching for, for many years, is better domain name management. It’s nice to have registrations and hosting with one company, but DreamHost lacks in domain management utilities to get things done quickly in bulk.

    2 Things with Domain Registrations and Domain Management page: Better Pagination and/or View Filtering (with Tags or Labels)!

    When you have 65! domain names registered with DreamHost, it is a pain to manage them all.

    It would be great to be able to tag domain names so that they can be filtered on Registrations page and Management page, so that the view can be filtered to show domains for only a particular client or by project.

    This way I could easily keep my Whois records up-to-date. It’s too much of a pain to skim through all of them, checkbox, skip checkbox checkbox, skip checkbox, … oh, some are on the next page … edit the first page first, now next page … checkbox, skip checkbox checkbox, skip checkbox … you get the picture. Also, a domain group could share all Whois info, because they all belong to a particular client or project.

    So Tags! Yes Tags! Let us tag domain names. You can call it Labels, or Folders, or whatever. Just please give us better tools to stay organized.

    Thanks!

  • It’s fugly, just like this blog and a thousand million other fashionista ‘clean’ ‘flat’ ‘minimalistic’ ‘slab-faced’ ‘metro’ ‘material’ websites that all look exactly the same and soviet style.

    I’ve been looking on Stylish etc. just for any possible userscript to revert back to the normal DreamHost Web Panel. Geez, why do people do this crap ?

  • What is this ? you guys call this new look ? user who have little knowledge about hosting how would they survive with that ? no information ugly interface hard to recognize functions .. this is the end of dreamhost i will not recommend this to anyone even for my worst enemy .. bye bye

  • Mega irritating because it’s super wasteful of screen real estate.
    Seriously, I can only see 8 domains at a time without scrolling on a 1920×1200 monitor?
    Please hire UI/UX folks, not “designers”, next time,