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This article is a little old. The information herein might not be too accurate.

Is a status page of green ticks really a good thing?

We look at peoples obsession with plastering their status page with check marks, and ask if it’s a good idea.

Mockup of green ticks

it’s possible to understand how as a dev-ops engineer or product designer you might be proud of everything you’ve built. Your beautiful and robust distributed infrastructure is a work of art, and seeing all those green lights on your status page gives you a lovely warm glow inside.

However, users of your service might not feel quite the same way.

People have to work to find what they want

During a service outage people's frustration is already elevated - They shouldn’t have to work hard to find the information they’re looking for.

If they arrive on a page covered in green check marks, trying to find the one which is right for them requires time, effort and patience - all of which they will be short on.

Prioritize the current notices, showcase them at the top, don’t make people search for them.

It puts a focus on where the problem is, not what you’re doing to fix it

People probably aren’t too fussed as to whether your database server in Asia is playing up, or that the switch in your west european cluster has gone down - they simply want to know you’re on the case, and what you’re doing to fix it.

Focus your design on progress updates, not on which part of the system the problem is in.

It doesn’t look like you’re taking the problem seriously

By hiding your issues amongst a sea of green ticks, it suggests you don’t take the problem seriously. If your page suggests that the problem only affects 1% of your service, then people will assume you’re giving it 1% of your attention.

Prioritize current problems above and beyond anything else, to show people you take it seriously.

Avoid catching tick fever

Ticks can be used to great effect, but consider very carefully what purpose they serve.

Don’t hide the information people are looking for in a sea of green noise. Don’t worry too much about which specific parts of your infrastructure are affected or trivialize the problem by showcasing those other elements which are still working.

Instead, make your updates easy to find, focus your design on communicating your progress to resolution, and show people you understand the importance of the problem.