CircleCI new UI/UX Review

As a lot of users move to the new CircleCI experience, I wanted to open a discussion thread here on your thoughts. What do you like? What bothers you? There’s been an amazing number of posts with great feedback already and we’re listening.

Some starter questions:

  1. Was there a task that became easier/harder?
  2. Were there any surprising features?
  3. Were you happy with the overall changes?
3 Likes

The following are harder. Sorry I haven’t encountered anything that is noticeably easier

  • I cannot see what jobs are queued / running on a global basis (in the old world this was at https://circleci.com/gh/<org name>
  • If I re-run a job with SSH, browse away it’s difficult to find it again

One thing that is better is pipeline view once you drill into the workflow (https://app.circleci.com/pipelines/github/<org>/<repo>/<pipeline number>/workflows/<uuid?>), but this one is REALLY easily over looked, and made more confusing at the higher level (https://app.circleci.com/pipelines/github/<org>/<repo>)

At the moment I’d say “I’m surprised by some features that are missing”
For the Organization Settings and Plan I have to use the browsers “back” functionality rather than being able to navigate “forward” to other parts of the platform, https://app.circleci.com/settings/[plans|organization]. Also my OCD kicks in for one to be to have “Organization Settings” as the mouse over while the other is “Plan”

Sorry, no. If you took the new pipeline view and put it into the old UI I would be happier

3 Likes

Thank you for the feedback! There’s no better way for us to improve than for you to share this kind of critique.

These are the primary issues preventing me from using the new UI…

Pipeline list page:

  • Please add an intuitive way to click into pipeline details. Currently, it seems I need to click the green/red status tag? Simply making the pipeline number clickable would be a great start
  • Rethink the ellipse button on the pipeline list page. One option of viewing the config file is useless. Replacing the ellipse with a View button would be handy.
  • Please remove tags from the pipeline list page. They clutter the view unnecessarily and have no actions available.

Pipeline details page:

  • The Cancel workflow button is a menu item under Rerun. Please move it out of that menu and have it be its own button. Bonus if you make it a link on a row on the pipeline list page
  • Please add the latest commit description/summary to this page
  • This view is largely a stepping stone for me. There’s not a lot of usable information and it mainly acts as an extra click to get to the details of what didn’t build correctly. Bubbling up errors/step errors from each action would make this view more valuable.
  • Not really sure of the infatuation of a link to the config file in the ellipse buttons. It’s not useful.

Job Details:

  • Please add the latest commit description/summary to this page
  • The Cancel workflow button is a menu item under Rerun. Please move it out of that menu and have it be its own button.
  • Please allow rerunning the job. The workflow rerun buttons might be useful from this view, but being able to rerun just a specific job would have benefits, too.
  • Like my comments on all other views, linking to the configuration file is not useful.
  • It seems the Queued timer does not work in the new UI. The old UI showed that a specific job queued for 00:03, while the new UI showed 0s.
  • The little i icon next to parallel runs doesn’t do anything. It looks clickable, but is useless.
3 Likes

A couple other notables from using the pipelines dashboard for more than a glance:

  • A pipeline of mine is showing as Canceled when in fact a dependent step failed, thus cancelling the subsequent steps. That’s not a “canceled” build to me, that’s a failed build.
  • Show details of why a build job failed would be great, if I expand the pipeline row. Even if it’s adding the title of the step that failed next to the , that would be a nice starting point.

Here’s a quick mockup showing:

  1. A clickable pipeline number
  2. Step failure details
  3. The Canceled pipeline label bug
  4. A usable ellipse menu

1 Like

Thank you for all of this! I’m chatting with our product team now. Some things you mentioned here might already be planned, but I’m definitely seeing some good changes we can make here.

Hi there! Is there anywhere in the new UI that provides the build timing information for parallel jobs that the old UI had? If not, is it on the roadmap? This timing info is invaluable for quickly diagnosing how to speed up our parallel test suites, and finding the outlier tests within seconds.

In the new UI, I’ve been scanning each parallel container duration one by one, and trying to find outliers manually. This is impractical when we have 30 or 40 parallel containers in a workflow, but looking at the timeline graph it’s so simple!

2 Likes

Hey @jim thanks for the highly specific and actionable feedback, responding line by line here with our plan:

Please add an intuitive way to click into pipeline details. Currently, it seems I need to click the green/red status tag? Simply making the pipeline number clickable would be a great start

There’s actually no “pipelines detail” page right now. The page you click into at the moment is the Workflow Map. We hope at a later date to create such a specific page encompassing all the workflows within a pipeline but it is not available yet.

Rethink the ellipse button on the pipeline list page. One option of viewing the config file is useless. Replacing the ellipse with a View button would be handy.

Changes to this coming soon!

Please remove tags from the pipeline list page. They clutter the view unnecessarily and have no actions available.

Showing these tags is a value-add for many of our monorepo customers who requested this specifically, so we’ll be keeping those.

Pipeline details page:

The Cancel workflow button is a menu item under Rerun. Please move it out of that menu and have it be its own button. Bonus if you make it a link on a row on the pipeline list page

Thanks for the data point, we’re considering this. It will definitely be a link on a row on the pipelines list page very soon though.

Please add the latest commit description/summary to this page

Thanks for the data point, we’re also considering this.

This view is largely a stepping stone for me. There’s not a lot of usable information and it mainly acts as an extra click to get to the details of what didn’t build correctly. Bubbling up errors/step errors from each action would make this view more valuable.

Thanks for the feedback. This page is largely built for our DevOps/config writing users who want a visual display of how more complicated workflows fit together and what depends on what. Bubbling up errors is an interesting idea.

Not really sure of the infatuation of a link to the config file in the ellipse buttons. It’s not useful.

Thanks, that link is indispensable to many of our other users but burrying it in an ellipse was not the best use of time for now (the plan was to add more possible actions there later).

Job Details:

Please add the latest commit description/summary to this page

This is planned and hopefully coming soon.

The Cancel workflow button is a menu item under Rerun. Please move it out of that menu and have it be its own button.

Thanks, we’re considering this.

Please allow rerunning the job. The workflow rerun buttons might be useful from this view, but being able to rerun just a specific job would have benefits, too.

This is a new feature request that would require some backend changes. Have you tried rerunning with SSH? I think that may get you the functionality you’re looking for.

Like my comments on all other views, linking to the configuration file is not useful.

Thanks, again this is indispensable for many users. About 10,000 users view it every day.

It seems the Queued timer does not work in the new UI. The old UI showed that a specific job queued for 00:03, while the new UI showed 0s.

This is due to a terminology change in old vs. new UI. What is currently called ‘queued’ in the old UI is called waiting in the new UI, and it doesn’t show unless it’s over 10 seconds. You can read more about this change here.

The little i icon next to parallel runs doesn’t do anything. It looks clickable, but is useless.

The little i is to hover-over with your mouse rather than clicking. It will explain more about what parallel runs are and how to use them.

Thank you again for your highly specific feedback, we are continuing to make changes every day! Hope you will share more with us as it comes up.

Best,

Kate Catlin
Senior Product Manager, CircleCI

Hi @gempesaw! Thanks for the feedback! We are in the process of improving Insights in the new UI. The new Insights dashboard will have important metrics including build duration at the workflow and job level. This new dashboard is coming soon in a beta release!

Additionally, expanding insights to test level granularity is on the roadmap for 2021. In the meantime, please check out our Insights APIs. As always please let us know if you have any questions or feedback.

Best,
Dawit
Product Manager @ CircleCI

2 Likes

Genuinely curious, why do so many people look at the config file through the website?

Regarding “Rerun with SSH”: sometimes I just want to rerun the build and not lock up a container with SSH needs.

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One bit of feedback I have left here before and have seen other people also leave here before, but seems to get ignored every time, is how ridiculous the new workflow view is for jobs with lots of steps:

This is a significantly worse user experience than the current view, making it much harder to review the status of a workflow and scan what jobs have failed.

3 Likes

Gotcha, thanks @jim.

And for Config, it’s sometimes a convenience thing (e.g. I already have the CircleCI UI open, but I don’t have this project open in my IDE) but sometimes it’s to see the config fully compiled. The UI offers you a view of both the source config (what you wrote on your IDE) and the compiled config (what we ran in our system after breaking up orbs, etc.).

Hey @thaffenden thanks for the feedback. What makes it harder for you personally to review? That it’s more spaced out? Or the change in the lines?

Predominantly the spacing, as I have to scroll a lot to be able to view the whole workflow.
The fact that jobs at the start of the workflow are in the centre of this block means you will always have to scroll to see them. The placement before meant they were always easily visible.
The lines are just pointless in this case, there are too many, too bunched up they don’t add anything.

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Thanks @thaffenden! We’ll take that into account in upcoming tweaks.

How do you view all jobs across all projects - or more specifically, active/queued jobs? In the old UI, the main nav “Jobs” would show a list of the latest jobs that are running/queued/have run. I’m not finding a similar view with the new UI.

I guess more actionable of what I’m looking for: we typically have more jobs than containers during business hours. There are non-frequent moments where one or two specific branches need priority over lesser priority activities and it’s useful to see how each of the CircleCI build containers are being used.

@Kate_Catlin or @thekatertot Could you please help with the question about how to view what all containers are up to?

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Let me check on this!

Hey @jim just to be sure I understand:
1.) You’re on a container-based payment plan, correct?
2.) And you want to see how those limited containers are tied up so you can cancel builds in front of more important builds, correct?

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Yep, that’s correct, thanks!

1 Like