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Thycotic’s Cyber Security Publication

The Redesign of Secret Server: What went into making Secret Server this good?

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Written by Nicole Sundin

June 4th, 2019

We are excited to introduce the redesign of Thycotic Secret Server!

In 2019, Thycotic has invested heavily in UX. We have built a team of UX and Human Computer Interaction Specialists to lead these initiatives. We are improving the UX/UI of all Thycotic products in 2019 as we continue in our efforts to remain the leader in usable security products.

The backbone of all Thycotic design is user research

Our UX Team’s Goals focused on four areas to improve our products:

  1. Usability & Performance: Historically, usability has been an afterthought in the development of many cyber security products. However, research has shown that users often make mistakes when a software product is not intuitive to use.This can be catastrophic in security products. Our focus on usable security not only takes into account error reduction to make your network more secure, but also decreases the number of interactions a user needs to complete everyday tasks.
  2. Modernization: As technology evolves so does design, and it was time for Thycotic to update our product UIs to match our advanced technology.
  3. Simplicity: As our products have evolved and become more powerful, we’ve reduced the number of patterns we use, and streamlined our products into a common UX/UI. As we roll out our new designs you will notice similar interactions and patterns.
  4. Accessibility: Inclusive design was another major goal of our redesign. We evaluated color contrast and typography to make sure we are WCAG2 compliant.

Thycotic’s Design Process 

Understanding Users’ Needs through User Research

The backbone of all Thycotic design is user research. During the Secret Server redesign, we spoke to over 70 customers. It was important to our team that we test our designs with a diverse subset of our customers, leveraging testing groups from different industries and sizes to ensure we created an improved experience for all our customers.

During the redesign of Secret Server we leveraged multiple methodologies

During our testing phase we leveraged multiple methodologies. With our first testing group we measured performance. Performance testing is a crucial part of a redesign process. Often what looks good visually can hinder performance, adding interactions that often slow down the user.

Our second testing group explored users’ preferences of new UX/UI patterns. We tested users’ preferences through modified A/B testing, allowing users to interact with high-fidelity prototypes and guiding them to express their preferences aloud while interacting with the new designs. This is vital to choosing correct patterns that we are standardizing across product lines.

We also leveraged questionnaires that tested users’ attitudes towards old vs. new designs, applying significant testing on our findings; and conducted interviews with customers to gain more specialized knowledge around reports.

Secret Server User Feedback

Human Computer Interaction Research.

Something that makes our UX team stand out is our deep knowledge of research happening in the HCI field. We are constantly looking to this discipline’s leading scholars to see what insight they have on Usable Security, Computer Supported Cooperative Work, and Information Visualization and Retrieval.

Iterative Design.

Iterating off user feedback is a core tenet of Thycotic’s approach. When comments or issues start to surface, we quickly iterate, collaborating with the development team to implement the design revisions into our products. Being agile and responsive to customer feedback is a cornerstone in our design philosophy.

Thycotic's Iterative Design Process Secret Server UI

What to expect moving forward.

Our redesign process does not stop with Secret Server.The UX/UI team will be touching all Thycotic products in our portfolio in 2019. You will notice a unified look and feel with a focus on our design principles: Usability & Performance, Modernization, Simplicity, and Accessibility.

As always, please feel free to reach out via UX@Thycotic.com with any questions or concerns about Thycotic’s design process, or let us know if you would like to be involved in user testing.

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Nicole Sundin

Nicole Sundin is the Head of Usability at Thycotic. She has 5+ years of experience working in the cyber security industry. Nicole is currently pursuing her PhD in Human-Centered Computing focusing on the intersection Information Visualization and Usable Security.