There are a lot of things beyond talking thermostats and intelligent plushies.

The Internet of Things includes a bunch of fun and useful devices for daily living. Some are unnecessary extras, others show promise of real value.

But there are also connected devices used for critical infrastructure, healthcare, and industrial plants. These kinds of devices can control centrifuges, help monitor critically ill patients, and run assembly lines. 

Symantec's Anomaly Detection for Industrial Control Systems was built to monitor these vast subnets of connected devices. This is a very new and emerging product space, and we had to be ingenious and proactive to craft the right user experience for the product. It started with exploring the anomaly detection competitive landscape, and then establishing some personas...

Primary role: User Experience Manager

Secondary roles: Usability research, Content

Design team: Tim Holl

Contribution: I provided guidance on the overall strategy (style guide adherence, product usability, UI framework). I facilitated UX brainstorming sessions (particularly for topology interaction), led communication with upper management, and conducted usability studies. 

 Assumption personas for a Nuclear Power Plant

Assumption personas for a Nuclear Power Plant

The lead designer (Tim Holl) mapped out the work flows for the product, and refined them over time working closely with the PM and getting feedback from an early beta customer. He has a lot more detail on his site about this project.

 ICS Flow Diagram

ICS Flow Diagram

The biggest chunk of work, and the most interesting, was the topology interface. Tim researched a number of different interaction and design patterns, focusing on the usability and scalability of the UI (it needed to fit with customer work flows, and scale to accommodate anywhere from 10 to 10,000 devices). I worked closely with him on how the topology might work, focusing the team on what value the end user would gain from it. I helped forward the idea that line technicians would want to see groupings of devices that might be particularly important (like everything connected to a centrifuge).

A utility and design patent was filed for this topology, and I was part of the inventors for the utility patent. It can be a weird space for a UX manager, filling a nebulous role that could position you for all the credit or none. Good organizations surface and celebrate the accomplishments of individual contributors, while equalling recognizing the role managers play. Yes, I do believe I played a big part in the success of this project, but the bulk of credit goes to the talented UX designer. 

Topology Demo

With our research staff overloaded with other projects, Tim and I conducted a usability study ourselves, stretching our responsibilities to get this done. I took charge of writing the usability script, and facilitating the study. Tim crafted the test persona, built a really good step-by-step prototype in Axure, and helped run the test. The newness of the product made it difficult to recruit participants, so I helped find equivalent roles within Symantec. We have a team of security analysts in Virginia, and they were great "proxies" for our end user. 

 Usability Prototype

Usability Prototype

We got really good feedback from the analysts, mainly confirming that our upfront research and work was on track. I'm super proud of the work Tim did on this project. From flow diagrams to icon design to research to prototyping, he demonstrated mastery of a wide range of skills to deliver the best possible UX.