UX + Architecture
Lumension acquired 3 leading IT security products with 3 different UIs, & wanted them combined into one unified, extensible platform that wouldn’t alienate existing customers. Here’s how I did it.
Lumension was a new IT security & operations company competing with industry giants like McAfee and Sophos. They had just acquired three companies with leading technologies in Antivirus, Patching, and Device Encryption and wanted to merge them into one unified platform.
I was hired to design the new UI/UX and build a team to support the growth of the suite over the next several years.
The products Lumension acquired all had strong customer bases. It was critical for the users of those products to easily transition to the new UI if we wanted to keep them. My starting point was to map out each product and plot the workflows for top tasks that customers did all the time.
This led to an ah-ha moment: Even though each product served a different purpose, they all followed the same basic usage pattern: Discover, Review, Manage, Report.
I turned that into our new workflow-based navigation menu and added “Tools” for easy access to core functions, preferences, and configuring role-based access.
We built wireframes, then a clickable prototype and tested them with users from the three different products. We had 100% task accomplishment right out of the gates. Success!
I was the UX Architect and Principal Designer. In fact, at the beginning, I was the only UX person at the company. The “we” on the project team was me, two Product Managers, the VP of Engineering, and two Dev Architects.
After the new UI prototypes tested well, leadership was confident enough in our direction to let me hire two more designers to accelerate the work. Over the next few years, we grew that into a team of 20+ employees supporting product growth around the world with offices in the US, Luxembourg, Spain, and Ireland.
A Closer Look at the Lumension Security Suite
The workflow-based navigation was key to making it easy for customers to transition to the new UI. It was built on a common usage pattern that existed in all three products and proved to be intuitive even though it was different from what customers were using before. It also worked well for new customers.
The new workflow-based nav:
- Discover – Scan the network to find machines, deploy agents, and collect status.
- Review – View and sort machines with issues that need fixing. (Missing patches, outdated virus definitions, infected machines in quarantine, etc.)
- Manage – Schedule and/or actively work on machines across the network.
- Report – Generate snapshot views for team members to work from and demonstrate compliance for security reviews.
- Tools – Quick way to get to the most frequently used functions, preferences, and role-based access settings.
With the navigation done, we turned our attention to building out the modules. The target audience was big Health Care companies, Finance, and Government agencies (NASA was a client), so the designs had to be fully accessible and meet Internationalization and Localization standards. I authored a UI style guide leveraging Microsoft UI standards which become part of our Scrum teams’ Definition of Done, and kept it updated throughout the life of the product.
All modules had a common look and feel, so if you were used to using one and added a new capability, it would all family together and feel connected.
Our UX team also contributed to QA efforts. Something we lacked early on were real-world usage scenarios, which led to an influx of customer-reported bugs. To catch these earlier, I pioneered a “Boot Camps” series where we leveraged my team’s user personas to simulate the kind of interconnected tasks that were going on as multiple users were in the system. This significantly cut down on in-field issues.
The Lumension Security Suite was a success with current customers who made the transition from their old products to the new UI and helped us win new contracts with big customers in our target industries. Over the next 7 years, the product grew to include a second Antivirus module, Whitelisting, Mobile Device Management, and additional reporting & compliance features until it was ultimately sold to a bigger fish and integrated with their technologies.
By applying foundational techniques of UX architecture, like mapping and task flow analysis, I was able to take what looked like a monumental task of developing a unified UI for three separate products and get a new framework in place that was tested and ready to go within 3-4 months.
Introducing user personas not only helped guide our UI designs but gave us a way to improve quality by simulating real-world usage scenarios. And creating a UI style guide to serve as the basis of our design system gave all the teams across the globe a clear set of standards to work from to promote consistency and ease of use.
Most designers wouldn’t think of IT security as an exciting place to be, but for me, it was a career highlight and something I’ll never forget. It gave me the chance not only to build a new product to compete at the highest levels of the industry, but to build a team of talented UX, Product Owner, and BA resources who in turn helped me grow as a growth-minded designer and leader.