Killing the password. Or at least maiming it.

When I first started at Symantec, the VIP Access app could do one thing: provide a six-digit security code. My boss NIco Popp, Sr. VP for Information Protection, wanted more. A lot more. 

My team redesigned the entire app, starting with the look & feel, but focusing on the technical leaps that would get us closer to eradicating that pesky password.

We first added push verification, which removed one annoying step from the login process (tacking on a code to the end of a network password). Next we delivered Touch ID, where you no longer needed to type in a password at all — just click a button on a website, get a push notification on your mobile device, and then tap your finger. 


Primary role: User Experience Manager

Secondary roles: UX designer, usability research

Design team: Vinoth Raghavan, Shirley Lee, Franklin Shaw

Contribution: I provided guidance on the overall strategy (brand alignment, design style, product vision). I facilitated and participated in conceptual design exercises, led collaboration with engineering, and conducted usability studies. 


A light-themed design motif was making its way through Symantec, but we knew that some of our end users used VIP Access in low light conditions (like logging into a network in the wee hours of the morning). Based on field research and customer feedback, we felt a dark theme was an important consideration. We looked at apps that were commonly used in low light, like an alarm on a phone, and we did color contrast research. 

We strive for simplicity in our usability tests, creating scenarios that are relatable and easy to follow. We recruited a wide range of participants, even some with cataracts or color blindness, and conducted our tests in a dark room. We tested different color and contrast combinations, and took note of the success rates. We also quizzed participants on what they noticed, and what worked best for them. It's important, we feel, to observe how someone uses the product, but also gather their thoughts and opinions. It is hard to determine what is best based on pure metrics, or pure opinion. We ended up launching a dark theme that was very well received by our end users (second from left).