JumpCloud’s New Administrator Portal

Written by Erica Wilhelmy on October 15, 2020

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Where you work matters — your digital workspace, that is. That’s why JumpCloud released an update to the cloud directory platform’s Admin Portal, introducing a new admin experience without disrupting the core all-in-one access and device management functionality JumpCloud admins know and love. 

The portal is designed with the modern IT admin in mind. Its clean layout makes features easy to find and use, and you can customize the navigation view depending on what you need to accomplish. 

Read on to tour the web console’s upgrades for IT pros at work, the UX research behind the changes, and before-and-after views.

What’s Changing?

Log into your JumpCloud Admin Portal and easily navigate it to more efficiently tackle your tasks. You’ll experience:

  • Better organization: Find what you need quickly with features grouped logically. For example, Devices, Device Groups, and device configuration tools like Configurations (Policies), Commands, and MDM are grouped together in a new Device Management section. You’ll also see a new Security Management section with features like MFA and user security settings to deploy across your organization. Customize your nav bar with collapsible sections and maintain that view between sessions.
  • Modernized UI: The portal’s updated colors and iconography provide a modern interface to engage in. If you’ve worked with legacy directory services like Active Directory®, you know that an intuitive UI isn’t a given. With JumpCloud, you get a powerful platform that’s also easy to use.
  • Updated terminology: We’ve updated select labels within the console to better reflect the functionality they represent — Systems changed to Devices; Applications changed to SSO; and Policies changed to Configurations (Policies).

Note: No core functionality is lost with this design update.

Why the Admin Portal Upgrades?

Influenced by the global pandemic, we reevaluated our roadmap to focus on delivering value for organizations adjusting to remote work, including improving in-portal hierarchy and navigation. And with that, the great console navigation redesign of 2020 began!

We wanted to better understand an admin’s mental model to improve your workflow within JumpCloud. We gained critical insights from admins and learned (very quickly) that you use JumpCloud in different ways. There’s no one-size-fits-all way our customers use the platform.

More than 100 JumpCloud IT admins responded to an initial survey and we spoke with dozens of respondents to collect deep qualitative feedback. More than 100 IT admins also provided feedback during various stages of the design process. For example, although most JumpCoud IT admins agreed that the portal was easy to use, they also helped identify areas of improvement such as recently released crosslinking for easier movement in the portal.

Using Portal Crosslinks for Users, Systems, & Groups

The new crosslinks in the JumpCloud Admin Portal help admins quickly click-and-go between panels for their managed users, systems or devices, and groups.

What do they look like in action? 

Imagine you’re a JumpCloud Admin and you need to check what resources your colleague, Pam, can access. You’re assessing Pam’s resource access because you’re auditing the licenses your organization’s employees have across your tech stack to justify their use or cost, or recommend getting rid of certain licenses or tools.

When you find Pam in the Users list, you can see all the User Groups where Pam is a member, including the All Employees group. With crosslinks, you can click that group and go directly to it in the portal to view and update it. When you’re there, you can see all the applications that this group has access to, and you’ll decide if that’s right for Pam, the individual, or perhaps for the entire group as it stands.

Similarly, you can see the Systems (or end user devices) menu where you gave Pam an account, and one-click navigate to them. Pam has admin privileges in JumpCloud, which means she can do things like send remote Apple MDM commands to enrolled end user Mac devices managed by JumpCloud. Does she need to be able to do this task? You can determine and update this quickly during your audit.

Why You’re Seeing Portal Crosslinks

Customer feedback directly impacts our feature roadmap. JumpCloud speaks with admins regularly to understand how the platform can streamline their work. 

In a recent Admin Portal usability survey, customers told us that they loved the platform’s intuitive interface but wished for less friction getting to associated things like users and their user groups. When asked specifically about crosslinking, customers said:

  • “I’d like to see more ability to navigate across items (instead of having to go search another area).”
  • “[I want] Easier navigation between Users and Systems. It would be useful to have a direct link to open assigned users from a system and vice versa.”
  • “It would be great to be able to directly link to a system from the user’s profile to get info on the system instead of having to leave the User menu and go to the System menu manually. Same goes for the reverse.”

These portal crosslinks pack a punch to make admins’ daily tasks even easier by opening up new paths to get around the Admin Portal.

The Stats: How Customers Helped Shape Their Portal

All of this feedback helped shape a more elegant and intuitive portal experience, which will also better support JumpCloud’s fast-evolving product roadmap with minimal disruption to customers as we scale together. Here’s a more in-depth review of the feedback and how it played into the redesign work.

Customer input is highly valued at JumpCloud. Arriving at the Admin Portal’s new design was an iterative process spanning months, with customers giving input along the way.

Early on, we asked our customers to do a card sort activity — a UX research technique to share their desired organizational structure — to better understand their mental models and how they used JumpCloud. 115 responded to this call for input.

What we learned: Workflows will vary by admin and every organization has different needs, but adding an intuitive hierarchy helps bring focus to admins’ work to be done.

Then, we did tree testing  — a usability technique to evaluate the findability of features — with about 50 participants to explore how well a proposed structure would perform.

What we learned: Directionally, we were on the right path but needed to continue to iterate on the navigation hierarchy to better inform varied admin workflows.

Lastly, with these learnings we developed prototypes we could share with customers to get their feedback on what worked well and what needed to be improved before calling it final. Eight customers participated in two rounds of usability sessions with six different versions to evaluate.

What we learned: 

  1. Allow for flexibility so you can see what is most important to you, such as expand-and-collapse sections.
  2. Broadened navigation makes it easier for you to scan and find information.
  3. The fewer clicks you make to get to information to act on, the better.
  4. Change is not always easy but it’s welcome — especially when the reasons for it are clear.

“(The restructure) improves it without completely revamping everything… it didn’t slow me down.”

Bringing it All Together

Now we’ll take a tour of the redesigned Admin Portal:

Before & After

Let’s look at the top: The first thing you’ll notice is a simplified top navigation bar. It displays an avatar with your username initials, which improves the top bar’s total real estate and your access to key navigation items. In addition, the Support page displays more prominently to allow for better visibility and access to the resources that help you work in JumpCloud.



Let’s slide to the left: We’re always growing! The main navigation scaled to accommodate new features in an organized hierarchy, which makes it easier for you to find the capabilities you need with fewer clicks.

A great example of this is the portal’s new separation of User and Device groups, which are broken out into their representative sections — a top customer request! This helps you find relevant information and sort through your groups more easily, with User Groups in the User Management section, and Device Groups in the Device Management section. In the past, User and Device groups both displayed in the same section, which made them more difficult to organize. In our UX research, customers described this as “awkward” and “cluttered,” which we made note of and addressed in the redesign.

We know we can’t make one hierarchy to rule them all, but you can decide how you want your portal’s navigation to look and maintain your customized view between sessions. 

Before & After: 

One Last Thing…

Thank you. We could not have done this work without the voice of our customers, whose participation was truly invaluable and ultimately enabled us to build a navigation to scale with us and you! Everyone who has ever provided their feedback, in-person or written, has and will continue to shape the JumpCloud admin experience. Keep it coming!

If you’re not a JumpCloud admin yet, you can create a JumpCloud Free account and explore the full functionality of the platform for up to 10 users and 10 devices — entirely free.

Erica Wilhelmy

Erica Wilhelmy, Product Designer and Director of UX at JumpCloud, is passionate about delivering lovable experiences for JumpCloud customers.

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