As a freelancer, I was hired to improve a rescue system for Avira Security, a company known for its antivirus software.
Avira Rescue System: Before Windows 10 era, many people needed extra antivirus programs to protect their computers. If a virus hit, it could break the operating system (like Windows 7), making the computer unusable. The Avira Rescue System was built to help everyday users get their computers working again if their system corrupted. My job was to make this system better and convince people who had virus problems to use Avira.The earlier version of Avira’s Rescue System had some issues:
- It couldn’t fix the system itself.
- It didn’t offer remote access for help.
- It only worked on a few devices because it lacked specific drivers.
- Its interface wasn’t easy to use.
- The virus scan results were only in English.
The team focused on improving the new version based on these main two use cases:
Saving Important Files First Imagine your computer gets a virus while you’re working on important business documents. The updated system lets you save these files first before doing anything else. This means you can protect your important work without using another computer immediately.
Easy Scanning with Help Available For people who don’t know much about computers and need to clean a virus, the process can be long and confusing. The new solution has a way for experts to help remotely. This workflow makes it easier for users to get help to remove the virus and fix their computer.
When I joined, the product manager already had some slides. I asked if he had any user input about the project, and the answer was no. I communicated the way of work (design thinking), but instead he would like to have the user interface immediately. It was a very challenging moment for my freelancer experience. My main action after the talk, it was arranging users in the organization that fit the same user group – the receptionist and another non-tech-savvy finance worker. I shared the results in clip format with the team. Those clips increased my social credibility. Some team members backed the new way of working and wanted more. Instead of delivering the first UI elements, I worked on the flows with the team.
You can see some of the flows we re-created with the development team. By redesigning and enabling these changes, the Avira Rescue System became more straightforward to use and started supporting more types of hardware. My work helped make the tool better suited for today's users and their needs. After delivering the rescue system successfully, I was assigned two projects: Avira Android and Online Essentials.
Avira Android: At that time, Avira was working on an Android application that helps users understand each application's permissions. Earlier, Android operating systems didn't have such functionality. I worked with the product manager in Hong Kong, and the primary delivery was redesigning the app with heuristics. You can see some of the work images here. If you are interested in this project, please visit Axure project
I questioned some of the functionalities. However, there was a strict deadline for the project. I delivered the required changes in time and the first release hugely improved. You can see some of the screenshots below.
Online Essentials: After having two successful projects, the CEO wanted me to join a future project called Avira Security. CEO was driving it, and we had two check-in meetings. In those days, antivirus solutions were applications to be downloaded, and license management was usual codes and numbers that users filled in. The novelty of the online essentials was to create human-centered security – a user can add multiple devices, and even a family can have multiple devices with different technical knowledge. A person would like to get some help from another one. Or create a scan request via the cloud rather than check the computer physically.
I contributed to new design directions and shared my critical thinking for this project. Later, we tested two concepts in Germany, United states, and Netherlands together with PM's. Here are some images and Axure link
At some point, I was too critical of some of the CEO's ideas and wasn't invited to the following meeting. I could have communicated better design, and when I looked back, I missed a great opportunity.
At that time, the design team was mainly focused on marketing. Their main goal was to create banners and emails to convert free users into paying customers. I attempted to shift the team towards a more user-centric approach. Despite my best efforts, I feel I was more of a teacher than a coach, which wasn't as effective. As an individual contributor, I did well, and my contract was extended. On the other hand, I tried to improve the design maturity at the company, but I realized my limitations in influencing cultural change. This experience taught me about the challenges freelancers face when trying to enact major changes. My journey with the company ended on a positive note due to my performance and worked some of the great minds later in different companies.