Sentry aka...

How I made an e-mail plugin that scans pesky AI phishing scams and allows users to safely access their e-mail accounts at work.
Role:
UX/UI Designer

Duration:
Aug 2023, 24 hours

Responsibilities:
UX Research, Desing Strategy, UI, Slidedeck

Tools:
Figma, Figjam
Overview

The Client

  • Since its establishment in 1975, Microsoft Corporation has played a pivotal role as a leading American multinational technology company in the computer industry.
  • Their mission is "to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential by creating technology that transforms the way people work, play, and communicate." (source).
The Challenge
How might we transform data privacy settings and practices across multiple platforms, making them more appealing and secure for individuals?
Teamwork

Great things are not done alone

I was assigned to a team comprised of 3 Software Engineers, 2 Data Scientists, and 1 UX Designer (me!). Initially, we struggled to be on the same page and decide on a direction. It was a struggle.

In the end, we were able to put aside our differences and work towards a common goal. I suggested we take some time to explore the problem space before committing to anything first.
The start

Exploring the problem space

We explored the problem space by doing independent research, bringing back ideas, and doing a group vote to decide the direction we wanted to go. Our choice was AI-powered phishing / Social Engineering.
Research

Relying on Data Science for the win

Although we struggled at first, we got back together and tried to assign each other roles. I tasked the data scientists to come back with some more secondary research.
  • 1.7 Billion phishing attacks per year
    The advent of AI is causing an increase in the amount of phishing scams
  • $2.7 Billion USD lost to phishing e-mails
    Phishing scams are costing companies money
  • ChatGPT is being leveraged by scammers
    Powerful AI tools are being used by people with malicious intent
User Interviews

Asking the people who matter most

With such little time, I still made it a priority to talk to users who were affected by the problem space. I called three people who fit the criteria of people working at tech companies. Through listening to their answers, I was able to refine the problem space and create a new HMW statement.

Reframing the Problem Space

Focusing on the problem with a new HMW

How might we help employees working in tech decrease the risk of phishing attacks to prevent their company from losing money to these attacks?

User Persona

Meet John Banks: A victim of AI phishing scams

Through the user interviews, I better understood the problem by asking real people. I called three people who fit the criteria of people 25 and up, currently working in tech, and familiarity with Microsoft. From there, I crafted a basic persona from the data I got from the interviews and presented it to the team.

Taskflow

A taskflow fit for everyone

Finally, armed with a taskflow and a persona, my teammates could fully grasp the concept I was designing. The software engineers were also grateful that I kept mindful of their capabilities and was willing to share ideas.
Iterations

Going from lo-fi to hi-fi

I made sketches using good old pen and paper. I used Figma to make high-fidelity versions once everyone was on board with the sketches. I handed it to the developers on time and stayed on standby to answer any questions.
Our Solution

Stay secure using Sentry

We decided on an e-mail-based solution add-on called "Sentry" to detect AI phishing and thus create a more secure environment for Microsoft users. The plugin would detect AI phishing scams and give users options for handling them.
Demo

The final unveiling

I made sketches using good old pen and paper. I used Figma to make high-fidelity versions once everyone was on board with the sketches. I handed it to the developers on time and stayed on standby to answer any questions.
Next steps
  • User Testing and Revisions
    Conduct some usability tests and devise a priority matrix for the team to base their revisions on
  • Summary Statistics
    Provide statistics for each users' account
  • Individual Approach
    Create even more customizable settings for users to handle
Conclusion

What did I learn from the experience?
1
Collaborative culture. Despite having only 24 hours to build a product, staying calm, focused, and instilling a collaborative culture was important.
2
Lead by example. As the only designer, I took the initiative to lead the team. There was initial tension, but being empathetic towards each other helped us come together as a team.
3
Answer the question effectively. Focusing on answering the question directly is key. Our solution touched upon the problem space, but it could have been more robust had we spent a little more time assessing before moving forward.
4
Winning isn't everything. Our product was not chosen as the winning solution. Still, we were proud that we developed a finished product without any communication breakdowns. While being recognized is nice, knowing I can work well with other disciplines was far more valuable.

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