Contract UX Strategist + Information Architect for 1 project
Cisco Security decided to reorganize after they realized that their teams had grown organically with many redundancies. One facet of redundancy was their “pull” security communications on their .Com security portal. I was contracted to explore this problem space and define the needed pull communications and their content.
Business Objectives, Goals, Assumptions, etc.
I reviewed and synthesized the foundations of the project- the objectives and goals, assumptions about the communications and users, understanding the security analysts and the importance of the communications to them and Cisco, and an inventory of communications.
Current State Evaluation
I took an inventory of the current Cisco Security communications including content, owners, objectives, category, target audience, etc.
I crafted and conducted interviews to understand who pulls security communications, how they process them, and what they do with the communication. Participants were contacts of the security teams and represented different size organizations and experience in the industry. A latent ecosystem of users of the content and their needs was revealed.
Concurrent to interviews, I conducted a competitive analysis of competitor’s pull communications, inventorying communications and approaches, as well as conducting a heuristic evaluation of the quality of those communications.
Open Card Sort
I conducted an open card sort to check the usefulness and understanding of the security communication components. We synthesized findings to clearly outline needs, the latent eco-system of consumers and their processes, and the related customer tasks.
Usable + Useful Documentation
I documented the analysis and design well as I wasn’t sure if I would be involved in designing the final communications. I documented the findings and logic holistically with a goal of empowering the Cisco teams to make informed decisions and create notices without dictating solutions.
The User Experience + Needs
I outlined experiences for each user group and their information needs and dependencies on each other to empower Cisco Security Analysts to write for their target audience.
I defined the Information Architecture including the content needs and navigation to specific content.
I proposed an additional project- redesign their security portal to be more useful to their target audience of pull communications which was approved.
Security Analysts (including Cisco Security Analysts) advance their careers with their publications which promoted their expertise of technology, processes, and general knowledge of the industry. Cisco Security Analysts are very engaged in the industry on an international level and very conscious of needing to maintain it.
The Cisco Security teams had very strong assumptions about who, how, when, what, and why their pull communications are used. I had limited access to the targeted users which grew organically as we discovered the ecosystem. An ecosystem was revealed but I didn’t have time to fully explore it. So perspectives were defined with second-hand perspectives.
The solution will also produce CMS requirements to support content and templates which the team did not understand at first which meant that requirements may be rolled out over time (a couple of years).
Communications’ content comes from different sources – teams, databases and different CMSs were in play. Cisco Security wants to lead the industry whenever possible. I wanted to collaborate with the team to harness their knowledge as I worked, and work collaboratively to form a solution, but they were not available. I had one regular contact whose availability was spotty.
My Cisco Security contact was traveling internationally for work. Targeted users want concise, accurate, complete communications with actions and assets – not dissertations.
I synthesized the findings and realized that the target audience was much smaller with very specific needs that were not met by anyone’s pull communications, and the security analyst who pulls the communication is not the analyst who processes or makes decisions.
I discovered an eco-system of security communication consumers. The needs of the consumers were different from – and sometimes conflicted with, the Cisco Security Analyst who write the communications. The nature of the Cisco Security Analyst is a natural need to be explicit, detailed, and reveal their knowledge. The users want bullet lists and tables of information so they can move quickly and empower others to make decisions and take actions.
SOLUTION - SCREENSHOTS
Security Communications Competitive Analysis + Heuristics Report
Annotated Wireframes + Content Requirements
Final Report: Wrapping it all into one deliverable to ensure empowerment