IBM Design Challenge

The Challenge

IBM challenged the students of the Rapid Design for Slow Change class with an unusual design challenge; to redesign the command line interface (CLI). Specifically, the challenge asked for the incorporation of BlueMix, a front-end UI service, into the Cloud Foundry CLI. We were challenged to think beyond the visual design and think more about a developers flow and experience within the CLI.

Winner of the IBM Rapid Design for Slow Change class challenge.


Team Members:

Katya Ivanova

Clark Mullen

Zan Morris

Jason Fu

Yao Bao

Steven Voyk


Duration : 5 days

My roles :

Our Process

Initially, we were two separate teams and after discovering a mutual interest in the project space we decided to merge. Working with such a large team in a short amount of time required clear communication, consistent understanding of the problem space, and a deep understanding of the design solution.

We implemented "Pair designing" which allowed for each member to focus on the areas that interested them most and work with a partner in that problem space. I worked closely with Clark to develop a user flow with the present CLI interface and we were able to design the solution with our proposed 5 stage strategy.



To complete this project our team:

Diagram of the overall development process to better understand developers work flow and process.


Problem Framing


Interviews with developers showed us that error messages in their current state are often constructed out of arcane codes, are inconsistent, and often offer no useful guidance for the user to follow to their solution.


We used the persona an 8-bit Jason, to help understand the user journey of a game developer who wants to push his game to the cloud.
I want to push my game to the cloud as seamlessly as possible.

- Jason, game developer


Our Solution

Train IBM's Watson to help users find solutions to error messages by employing the resources of cloud foundry, BlueMix documentation, developer forums, and user feedback.


Implementation Strategy

1. Wat ______

Keyword search in terminal to quickly find relevant information

2. Wat com

Error message generates link to online documentation Context of the error is used to link to appropriate information

3. Wat posts

Error message in terminal provides links to specific posts in IBM help community, sorted by relevancy

4. Wat solve

If watson is confident of the the error and the solution it will show its recommendation in the terminal with link to its source

5. Smart answers

Watson acts like your expert programming friend.

The Big Picture

Importance of community feedback and smart search

Just as the developer’s experience using a system is often decided by the quality of the documentation and reference, that quality itself is decided by participation and the community.

By directing developers initially to IBM’s Bluemix forum, we can move them into a feedback a loop of community and participation. With more answers on the forum, Watson returned better, more contextually aware results. With better error message results, there will be a greater community using Bluemix, and more to add to the discussion around problems.

We believe that Watson and Bluemix are a perfect pair, each growing the other.


Documentation and Waltk-through (pdf)

Additional Projects