I’m happy to show off the first phase of our new OpenDNS Dashboard, which we launched today. Today’s overhaul makes the settings area of the Dashboard dramatically easier to use. But first, let me explain what was wrong with the older version.

Our old settings page on the Dashboard succumbed to feature bloat and became hard to navigate. The left side navigation was lengthy and unintuitive — and not just to novice Internet users but even to our power users. Every feature we added just became a new navigational element on the left side of the page. And most of those features only had one option! The reason this happened is simple — we like to constantly iterate on feedback from all of you and that means we roll out new features all the time. While we love that part, it doesn’t work so well when you are trying to provide a consistent and intuitive interface for users.

Our goals for the new settings page were very clear:

  1. Make the interface dramatically easier to use for novice Internet users.
  2. Don’t remove any of the existing functionality.
  3. Provide the level of detail our power users demand.

It was a tall order, but our all-star engineering team was able to do it. Without further ado, here’s a quick walk-through:

Left side navigation

The left side navigation has been cut from 11 different choices down to 3. Content Filtering, Customization and Advanced Settings. Content Filtering is where you can block categories of sites, block individual domains, or whitelist domains. It’s all in one place. Customization is where you can modify the look and feel of the OpenDNS Guide and blocked pages with your own logo and messaging. Advanced Settings, like it sounds, is one page with all of our various knobs and checkboxes where you can tailor our service to best meet your needs.

Content Filtering

The Content Filtering page was previous spread out over four different pages. Now it’s just one. You can use one of our preset bundles of filters or customize things to pick and choose from any of the 50+ categories we have available. Just below the categories you’ll see a much simpler way of individually allowing and blocking domains that you want to exclude from category blocking. An example for this might be if you block the Social Networking category but want to “always allow” the business social networking website LinkedIn.

Advanced Settings

This page has all the knobs. If you want to turn off stats processing, you do it here. If you want to make sure OpenDNS works with your VPN, you can do it here. All on one page. We’ve also updated all the text to make things more clear and easier to understand.

There are a lot of other small usability tweaks that have gone into making this settings page as easy to use as possible. Go take it for a spin and let us know what you think.

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