Usability Tweak: Network Rule Dialogue Window

The solution below should make rule creation much more fluid and subsequently faster.

The Current Problem:

  • It is not possible to see the entirety of your network rule.
  • Network rule creation is inconsistent.
  • Network rule creation involves superfluous navigation.


  • Make the entirety of the network rule visible.
  • Make rule creation consistent.
  • Remove excess navigation.

I have attached pictures.

Image - NetDialEc002.png:

  • See “New Matrix Grouping” link below.
  • I highly encourage this design over the linear stack, as it is much more coherent and efficient.

Further Illustrations:

Disclaimer: This is a recreation of a previous thread, adapted to CIS4, without a poll, and with a hopefully clearer initial post. Updates get their own separate posts so as to keep ideas independent from one another.

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I like the modifications you made. I put a link to this thread in the usability forum (for mods only, but it’s a forum where usability issues are summarized for the developers).


Awesome! Thank you.

I’d also like to point you to another usability tweak I proposed. It seems on par with this one on both scale of implementation and significance (at least for those of us who edit our sets and zones frequently):

Linear Stack Design

I no longer prefer this design.

Image - NetDialD002.png:

  • There are no tabs obscuring the network rule.
  • “Types” of addresses and ports are now chosen via drop down menus.
  • Inapplicable fields are grayed out to maintain UI consistency.
  • Network and port rules are grouped.
  • See the Advanced Parameters Toggle post for info about the new check boxes.

Grouping addresses and ports establishes hierarchy for a more intuitive presentation.

[color=gray](The method I used to group two beveled rectangles could conceivably be used to group four, all under the single title “Advanced.” However, I think that would be too cluttered, cause the window to have to widen to accommodate longer drop down titles, and create more white space again - for a negligible decrease in window height. In other words, I do not advocate a quadruple group.)

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Update: Advanced Parameters Toggle

Image - NetDialD001.png:

  • New option to enable or disable advanced rules.
  • Advanced parameters are disabled - only general rules apply.

This makes usability more fluid for both those setting up basic rules, and those setting up intricate rules.

Image - NetDialD002.png:

  • Advanced parameters are enabled and filled out.
  • An “always use” option is enabled here.

The following sounds complicated… but it really is not…

When “Use advanced parameters” is not checked:

  • Only general settings show.
    + Only general settings apply (all advanced parameters are assumed to be their default “Any”).
  • This is the default view when making a new rule.

When “Use advanced parameters” is checked:

  • Advanced parameters show.
  • When making a new rule, all advanced parameters initially default to “Any.”
  • This only applies to the current Network Control Rule window.

When “Always use advanced parameters” is checked:

  • “Use advanced parameters” is grayed out.
  • “Use advanced parameters” is force checked.
  • All Network Control Rule windows will show advanced parameters by default.

Opening existing rules without “Always […]” checked:

  • If the rule uses custom* advanced parameters, “use advanced parameters” will be checked, and advanced parameters will show.
  • If the rule does not use custom advanced parameters, “use advanced parameters” will be unchecked, and advanced parameters will not show.

Opening existing rules with “Always […]” checked:

  • Advanced parameters show no matter what - even if they are all set to their default “Any.”
  • Not using custom advanced parameters is equivalent to using all default advanced parameters.

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Matrix Grouping

Looking at the hierarchy of information, it occurred to me that we are dealing with two intersecting axis of information, not a single linear set. By this I mean, we have two kinds of pairs that combine for four distinct outcomes. We have a matrix of quadrants.

Pair 1: Address or Port
Pair 2: Source or Destination

The relation between these two pairs could be viscerally reflected in the UI.

Image - NetDialEConcept.png

  • This is the abstract principle.

Image - NetDialEc003.png

  • This is the principle applied.
  • There are no tabs obscuring the network rule.
  • “Types” of addresses and ports are now chosen via drop down menus.
  • Inapplicable fields are grayed out to maintain UI consistency.
  • “Exclude” is set into the frame so as to be contextually coherent and save space.
  • “Port” and “Address” are italicized for quicker recognition of Pair 1 elements.
  • Space usage is much more efficient than stack grouping.
  • Source to Destination seems to be more intuitive Left to Right, rather than Top to Bottom.
  • All fields and drop downs are large to maintain uniformity with the size of an IP field and make room for large Zone and Port Set titles.

See the Advanced Parameters Toggle post for info about the new check boxes.

Image - NetDialEc002.png

  • Shows alternative ordering. (Worse I think)

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