Intro

Today’s organizations want to analyze enormous quantities of data as well as the varying, complex relationships between these data elements. Graph databases are a new approach to the ever-increasing data problem, and ideal for supporting this need in a manner that’s both flexible and simple to query. The interface for IBM Graph is a digital sandbox for application developers to become acclimated to graph database technology. This in turn allows users to query their graph databases with more confidence and an improved understanding of their datasets.

The Users

The increasing drive toward mobile and cloud has demonstrated that companies need to become even more agile to keep up with the ever-evolving landscape. This agility is dependent on a company’s ability to create and modify new data models quickly, cheaply, and effectively. IBM Graph's user interface is designed for application developers looking for new technologies to solve their database problems.

The Design

With these considerations in mind, the interface needed to be able to teach both newcomers to database technology as well as those who already understand databases, but are trying to learn how graph databases work. Some of the initial conceptual sketches for the design can be seen below.

Getting Started

Getting Started is a set of 4 tutorials that take the user through the fundamental concepts of graph technologies. Think of this as a more layman's terms version of the documentation that's focused on the main pillars of graph databases.

Each tutorial contains examples and diagrams that clarify the intricate concepts of graph, since this is still a relatively new technology. By the time the user reaches the end of Getting Started, they have learned all the pieces of the graph that are necessary to start running queries on their own database. They can do so in the Query section.

Query

This is the first page you're taken into after logging into a particular database instance. It was crucial to make sure our users always knew where to go, so we provided an onboarding card (below) as a resource for them to go from zero to graph right away, regardless of their focus.

We provided a sample dataset for our users as well as a card of sample queries. Even if users have no understanding of the technology, they’re still capable of running queries and returning results from a sample dataset.

Depending on the query written, the result may come back with a visualization of their query. As users select content in the visualization, the corresponding content from their database will be highlighted on the left. Furthermore, to reduce visual clutter, users are given the option to select or deselect tags at the footer of the result card in order to hone in on the more relevant pieces of information they want to see from their database.

Conclusion

As big data becomes increasingly significant for businesses and the database landscape continues to evolve, it's important to understand the best ways to yield insightful results about your dataset. The IBM Graph interface is a useful entry point for both database newcomers or seasoned veterans who want to learn the best practices for this type of database technology.