top of page

Enable admin users to impersonate other users in the SolarWinds ITSM.

User Impersonation

Role
Product Design

Timeline
Nov ‘22 - Jan ‘23

Responsibilities
UI, UX, Research, UJM, Flow

Team

SolarWinds IT Service Management (ITSM) is a software solution that helps organizations manage their IT services more effectively. It provides tools for logging and tracking service requests, resolving incidentsand problems, managing changes, and maintaining a knowledge base.

Organizations can streamline their IT service delivery processes, improve efficiency, and enhance customer satisfaction. Offering intuitive features for logging and tracking service requests, SolarWinds ITSM ensures a structured approach to managing incoming tickets. This helps organizations prioritize and address service requests promptly, leading to improved response times and customer satisfaction.

About Solarwinds
ITSM Product

User impersonation allows administrators to access and operate a user's account as
if they were logged in as that user, for the purpose of troubleshooting and providing support.
User impersonation can be a massive time saver for support teams, since they don’t need to rely on user explanations and screenshots which significantly cuts the time wasted on back-and-forth communication.

About User Impersonation

The user impersonation feature was the second most asked feature by our customers admins, due to serval of use cases, as an Administrator, it’s necessary to impersonate an agent user in order to provide support for the following scenarios:
 

  • Troubleshoot an issue for a user with a different UI view
    Given that various users may have different UI experiences based on their account preferences and settings, administrators may need to impersonate the user to understand precisely what they are encountering. This process of assisting a service agent user can now take up to an hour instead of just a few minutes.

     

  • Apply changes for "OOF" users
    Administrators often find themselves needing to make adjustments on behalf of other users, particularly when the user is on vacation or has left the company. This might entail reassigning tickets or action items, or generating reports on their behalf. In cases where administrators have to wait for the users to return or when the user has left the company, certain changes cannot be made, leading to operational delays and potential issues.

These were the primary issues that we aimed to address with the user impersonation feature.

Problems

  • Admins
    For the action of the impersonation, the user persona is an IT administrator, who has special permissions and can access certain features, such as the ability to impersonate other users.

     

  • Agents
    The agent persona refers to the user whose account is being impersonated by the admin, enabling the admins to make certain actions and changes in that agent’s account.

User Personas

I used the "How Might We" questioning method in the context of a user impersonation, this allowed me for the generation of inventive solutions while ensuring a focus on addressing the most crucial problems. By framing questions using "How Might We", it encourages creative thinking and opens up possibilities for innovative approaches to designing and improving the user impersonation feature. When applied to a user impersonation, "How Might We" questioning prompts us to consider various aspects of its functionality, user experience, and problem-solving capabilities. For example, "How might we address the issue of informing the user that they are being impersonated by other users?".

How Might We
Method 

To fully grasp and evaluate the feature and its challenges, I meticulously mapped out all competitors who has the user impersonation capability.

Competitors 

Thorough the research I collected and explored inspirations and ideas from direct competitors, the broader ecosystem, prevailing design trends, and big apps in the market, all tailored towards enhancing the User Impersonation feature. I meticulously mapped out all the corresponding flows and research using Figjam. Below, you can find screenshots from the research.

UI.UX Research 

I used the method "User Journey Map" method to proactively address potential issues, enhance customer retention, and uncover vital information for making informed decisions. These visual diagrams depict various scenarios of the expected user experience when users interact with the virtual agent feature.

  • Impersonate Action

  • Impersonation in audit

  • Impersonation settings

User Journey Map - 
Scenarios 

A comprehensive map of the user experience when engaging with the user impersonation feature, demonstrating each UI screen and scenario.
A key tool for aligning development and project management teams prior
to creating wireframes and visual designs of the user impersonation feature.

  • Option 1 - Admin Impersonates another user

  • Admin Impersonation in the Audit

  • Impersonation settings

  • Option 2 - Admin Impersonates another user

  • Edge Cases

Flow of the Screens
by Notes

We Have Chosen to Proceed with Option 1

What were the reasons for choosing the first option?
 

  • It is easy to learn how to impersonate a user by using the industry standard method, which is considered to be the good solution.
     

  • It makes sense for the user experience that if you want to switch views and impersonate another user, you should do so by selecting it on your profile.
     

  • By using a "Are you sure?" pop-up prompt before entering, we can maintain a high level of privacy while still allowing the user to take the risk. However, it's important for the user to understand the potential risks involved.
     

  • For the better user experience, it is much easier to go back to the header
    menu and impersonate a user again.

     

  • We conducted testing of the two flow options with key customers and found that the first flow allowed our customers to impersonate user more quickly, They also expressed that option 1 provided a better user experience.

Design Review
The purpose of the design review  to verify that the final product aligns with the designated design specifications and to offer constructive feedback on the user interface (UI) design, if required. This process aims to guarantee that the end result faithfully represents the intended design while also allowing for necessary improvements and refinements to the UI, ensuring a user-friendly experience.

Handoff
In the handoff phase, I met with the development team, explained the design details thoroughly, and ensured a comprehensive understanding of the project requirements. This streamlined the transfer of responsibilities and minimized the chances of overlooking important elements during development.

Handoff Phase and Design Review

Please find below the UI screens from our web app, illustrating the user impersonation feature. 
These screens offer a visual representation and flows of the user impersonation feature in the web app.

UI Screens

In the 'Impersonates Another User' flow, administrators have the capability to impersonate another user in situations where the user is on vacation, unwell, or has left the company.

Impersonates 
Another User

In the 'Notification of User Impersonation' flow, an email is sent to inform users that someone is impersonating them. This crucial process alerts users, ensuring they are aware of account impersonation. Users have a right to know when their accounts are accessed or used by others, particularly when it's unexpected.

Email Notification of
User Impersonation

In the 'Impersonation settings' flow, the admin can enable or disable the impersonation feature. When enabled, the admin can choose whether users who have been impersonated should receive notifications for session start and end.

Impersonation Settings

<