Have you noticed an emerging trend in mobile phone advertising? Advertisers understand that privacy and security are of growing concern for the broader population. Apple, in particular, has been doubling down on the message as of late, even making it one of its core values. They understand what we have been advocating for years, that the security of digital devices and accounts is crucially important for everyone.
We applaud this effort by Apple and others, yet it’s critical to understand how to reduce your device’s attack surface and remain vigilant in an unpredictable landscape of new attacks. To help users take action against such vulnerabilities and remain secure, we developed the iVerify mobile app, which provides you continuous compromise checks and clear guidance on managing and maintaining the security of your phone.
Following the initial launch, the value of the app iVerify was clear. It received unsolicited endorsements from respected leaders within security and generated organic news articles from Forbes, Vice, and Wired.
We wanted our security features and valuable guidance to reach a broader audience of individuals and organizations. Our next major iteration needed to be directly informed by research to validate direction to align with their needs.
We’d like to share the challenges we needed to address, the processes we used to tackle them, and the outcomes we were able to achieve.
To remain lean and reduce risk, we had to validate (or invalidate) our assumptions. The first order of business, talk to users. We developed a script based on our learning goals to better understand user needs and inform direction. Following a tweet about the upcoming version for organizations, several notable companies volunteered to participate in research interviews. We also spoke to existing corporate customers for their unique perspectives.
Our team synthesized the findings to document key findings and insights. The research had clarified user needs, their various jobs, pains, and potential gains for which we can solve. We reviewed existing features and ideated new ones as possible solutions to the identified user needs.
Prioritization of features was conducted using a 2x2 matrix mapping user value with overall effort. This provided clarity in the prioritization of efforts and facilitated alignment through discussion for collective understanding.
Broadening our user base to protect more people required expanding and improving our offering.
It was readily apparent that our first means to reaching a broader audience would be the addition of an Android version of our application. Designs were immediately updated to account for material design patterns specific to Android, and development is underway.
After speaking with users about onboarding flows for organizations, we confirmed that accommodating their distribution and device status needs would require a dedicated application. We could confidently proceed with the requisite backend groundwork as we prepared for the next phase of research.
To tackle clarifying our message and create a stronger brand, we conducted an audit of each marketing medium to identify opportunities for improvement. Our value messaging has been improved to be clear and concise. The brand is now consistent across touchpoints and uniquely identifiable.
We spoke with leaders of groups responsible for providing guidance and protection against intimate partner violence, as our product could greatly help such victims avoid stalking and digital harassment. We learned aspects of our guide verbiage were overly technical and could be more straightforward, so we engaged our copywriting team to simplify our guides.
Taking everything into consideration we developed a prototype to showcase the key branding, functionality, and visual enhancements to help us guide the future direction of our product. There was a palpable excitement around the proposed direction, and everyone was highly motivated to get underway with the effort.
To capture areas that needed improvement we began a full audit of the application against usability best practices and accessibility standards.
Representative screenshots were captured and annotated to document issues in context. By the time the audit was completed, comments had reached triple digits. From requisite changes in information architecture and content based on Miller’s Law, key heuristics issues in lacking visibility of system status via clear status indicators, reachability on mobile devices (a.k.a “thumb zone” as coined by Steven Hoober in Designing for Mobile Interfaces), to inadequate color contrast for accessibility to meet W3C standards, and others, there were many improvements to be made.
While this was an excellent reference artifact for details, it was not a suitable format for quickly conveying the recommendations to leadership. The findings were summarized, grouped by category, and suggested actions were provided to clearly communicate the next steps.
The initial app was developed with limited design consideration, so while its core feature set was solid, it lacked the excellent user experience and polished visual design it deserved. Inconsistencies and a lack of visual principles reduce the perceived quality and usability of an application. We know from the Aesthetic-Usability Effect that users often perceive aesthetically pleasing design as design that’s more usable. We took on this problem by conducting a visual design critique to identify areas for improvement and propose resolutions using best practices.
Distinct UI elements were inventoried and we designed a component library for the team following Brad Frost’s atomic design methodology. This provided clear, intuitive patterns to implement, and substantially expedited mock-ups, prototypes, and app development. We use Figma to ensure a single point of reference for designs, comments, prototypes, and code snippets.
Color schemes were updated to include light and dark mode versions to accommodate user preference. Branding, typography, and imagery were updated throughout, including small details, such as custom widgets and Lottie animations from After Effects.
To ensure the desired UI and proper functionality as development progresses, we collectively review and test the application using TestFlight and the Google Play Store.
The redesign of iVerify has been a tremendous success. Feedback on the application and the improvements have been overwhelmingly positive.
Immediately following the release announcement, we had a record number of downloads in one day. We’ve also seen a 300% increase in sales during the first month, and monthly downloads remain significantly above average.
Since the release, multiple companies have been signing up every week to take advantage of our unique no-MDM product and organization-specific features. With nearly all companies providing a “bring your own device” model, they understand the significant, otherwise blind spot in their security. They also see first hand the growing resistance from employees to enroll in managed device policies. Our product solves for this very scenario.
Ensuring direction was rooted in user-centered design and implementing product best practices has been crucial to our accomplishments. Our team has a firm foundation in a newly restructured application with improved stability and technical architecture, clear design direction and UI components library, and a stellar balanced team to execute upon our future vision.
We highly recommend you download iVerify for Individuals for device scans, protection guides, security news, and content blocking features. Please also consider iVerify for Organizations to keep your team secure while preserving their personal data privacy and freedoms. Our FAQ is updated regularly with information, or feel free to contact us if you have any questions or feedback.
There are several new features on our roadmap and exciting developments to come from our product team as well. Please follow us on Twitter if you’d like to be the first to know about these advancements.