Reimagine the Basic Input Output System
(aka PC Firmware)
Dell BIOS Visual History
  • Role: Visual Design Lead, UX Support, Research Support
  • Released: September 2017
  • Client: Dell


Partner with researchers to investigate experience issues within the BIOS flow. Ensure the updated experience is intuitive and clean, wrapped in modern UI.


Start with competitive and historical research. Investigate the IA to determine weak points and drastically simplify site navigation. Wireframe potential layouts and review with multiple stake-holders. Prototype and test with users to validate assumptions.

User Study with Competitive Analysis

The first step was a user study that included a competitive analysis. We discovered pain points in our own software, namely user-disorientation. The users did, however, enjoy the more modern look-and-feel of Dell's Metro inspired color blocks (see current build below.)

IA Investigation

Dell BIOS IA Investigation

Before pushing a single pixel, the program architecture needed investigating and disecting. Each highlighted section in the document above has fewer than 3 lines of content, but requires three clicks to access it and its help information. This document clearly visualized an issue with the architecture: the navigation system is overly-complicated and requires many clicks to perform simple operations. This investigation allowed the collapse of many pages into a single overview page, often without a scroll.

And just like that, 60+ pages became 20.

Landing Page

Dell BIOS Landing Page Original

Dell BIOS Landing Page Explorations

Based on user studies, we knew we needed a consistent, centralized left navigation. We also discovered confusion around the significance of the different size and color of the tiles. Accessibility was also a consideration in the redesign, specifically users with dysfunctional touchpads or mice. The visual design also needed an update to Clarity 4, the latest design language from the Dell Experience Design Group.

Current Build

Dell BIOS Index Page Original

Dell Index Landing Page Explorations

The current build has obvious issues with navigation scalability, see Security in green. Some sub-nav pages had two tiles, while others had 10+ tiles.

Dell BIOS Wireframe Explorations

Dell Wireframe Explorations

The wireframe explorations above illustrate the lack of scalability of anything tab-like, and the necessity of a traditional left nav.


Dell BIOS Performance Exploration

The final design landed on the traditional left nav. Without the tiles, the subsections are of equal visual weight and easily accessible.


Dell BIOS Performance Landing

Dell BIOS Landing Page Explorations

In the current build (above) the Performance section of BIOS is 6 pages requiring 15 clicks to open and close each section and view all help text. The first page is an index of all subsections, each represented as a brightly colored tile of varying shade and size, of which there is no significance. Once inside a subsection, the user must click the help icon for any hint at often complicated content, and then the "x" icon to return to the index page.

The exploration below shows the same Performance content condensed onto 1 page accessed with 1 click. Other UX improvements:

  • Reorganized form actions by priority
  • Exposed previously hidden help text
  • Relocated the "Exit" function to appear in a consistent, familiar location
  • Increased legibility by adjusting the color contrast of typography
  • Ensured disabled features appear disabled by creating/applying an inactive style

Dell BIOS Performance Exploration

Related Projects