Using Design to Enhance Security: Why Verkada Brings the Consumer Experience to Enterprise Products
At Verkada, we are laser-focused on building powerful products to better protect people and property. We do this in part by making both our hardware devices and our cloud-based software platform as easy to use as any consumer product. By creating products that have ease of use at their core, we are empowering IT and security teams to use Verkada to its fullest potential and - by extension - enhance security throughout their organizations.
At the heart of this mission are our product design and engineering teams, who continue to push the boundaries of what is possible for enterprise physical security while keeping design, usability, and user experience at the forefront. Here we explore three of Verkada’s key design and usability tenants, and how they work together to increase physical security for our customers.
It’s All In the Details: A Commitment to Quality, End-to-End
Throughout the process of launching seven product lines in as many years, we have continued to think through every aspect of the user experience in excruciating detail to ensure that we are building the best product we possibly can.
On the hardware side, we set out to streamline the setup and install process. We designed a PoE-powered camera that means getting started is as simple as plugging in a cable. No switches, NVRs, or routers needed. As we expanded into product lines like air quality sensors, alarms, and intercoms, we kept the ultrasimple PoE-powered approach. Critically, this approach makes it easy to deploy Verkada devices at scale, which helps increase the security and coverage of any given building with minimal extra effort.
Command, Verkada’s cloud-based software platform, was similarly designed to increase security through ease of use. The native integration of our products allows users to almost instantly surface video clips of events triggered by any other Verkada device, providing critical visual context into any situation. Gone is the need to compare timestamps. With a single click, users can see the associated footage of a door being opened via Verkada access control or what tripped a motion sensor. Additionally, intuitive navigation, powerful search capabilities, and a consistent interface encourage users to dive deep into Verkada’s functionality and take advantage of important security features that they might be unwilling or unable to leverage in a more cumbersome system.
Our commitment to quality and ease of use even extends down to product packaging. How easy it is to unbox a product, what tools are included, and how everything is labeled is all carefully thought-through.
As the number of products and the size of our team continue to grow, maintaining the utmost quality and user experience standards will challenge us to keep sweating the small stuff. Whether a customer is opening a box or turning on a new feature in Command, we continue to look for ways to improve the Verkada product experience, end-to-end.
Keeping the Customer Close: The Importance of First Hand Feedback
Getting direct customer feedback has always been a central component of Verkada’s product development process. In the early days, Verkada executives often went on-site to install cameras for customers. This practice unearthed a wealth of information about how customers actually used a product, where the competition fell short, and changes - big or small - that would ensure the Verkada product was used correctly and to its full advantage.
For example, we observed that most legacy access controller boards would arrive from the manufacturer with a mess of unidentified wires. This set the customer up for a frustrating install experience and a higher likelihood that the product would malfunction. When the time came to develop our AC41 door controller, Verkada took care to create a more streamlined and organized wiring layout that made installation easier and ensured a properly secured building.
As Verkada grows, we are mindful about not allowing the voice of the customer to be filtered exclusively through surveys or secondhand communications. Our executives continue to visit customers on-site, and we regularly bring customers into our office to share feedback with a larger audience of product managers, designers, and engineers. This customer feedback loop is a critical part of our design and development process, and continues to inform many user experience and product roadmap decisions.
Tightly Aligned, Loosely Coupled: How We Facilitate Rapid Development and Iteration
One of the most unique aspects of Verkada - and a benefit of being a cloud-managed solution - is the rapid pace at which we develop and launch new products and features. We are constantly focused on providing customers with additional functionality, enhanced security, and a more streamlined user experience. While this introduces an additional set of challenges to our design and development process, it’s a cadence we’re committed to keeping up for the benefit of our customers.
Any new software feature, for example, undergoes rapid prototyping and numerous iterations, but the team does not rest once a mockup has been created. Customer feedback is, as always, a critical part of the development process, so we work to get new features in the hands of real beta users as quickly as possible. Their feedback often informs subsequent revisions and improvements.
The structure of our teams plays a key role in achieving our rapid release schedule. Rather than operate as disparate teams, the designers, engineers, and product managers working on a specific product form “pods,” the better to facilitate close communication, quick iterations, and real-time feedback. Across Verkada, various pods can best be described as tightly aligned but loosely coupled. While they have the same overarching goal, each pod is given a significant degree of autonomy to build products as they see fit. This structure allows Verkada to maintain the dynamism and nimbleness of a small startup, even as we mature into a larger company.
Increasing Security Through Usability
Protecting people and property is a tremendous responsibility, and we are committed to building products that empower our customers to do their jobs to the best of their ability. By bringing user experience front and center, we are able to build products that actively encourage our customers to dive deep into the Verkada ecosystem - exploring new features, finding new use cases, and unlocking new insights that increase security where it matters most.
Want to hear more on this subject? Join Martin Hunt, Verkada’s CTO, and John Russell, Verkada’s VP of Design, as they discuss Verkada’s design and usability principles at VerkadaOne in Austin, TX, May 30 - June 1.