Sep 17, 2008

How important is a user interface after all?

One important thing to consider when evaluating security products for any environment is manageability and usability. Having tested a vast array of products, it's probably safe to say we've seen a spectrum of good bad and ugly interfaces. But I'm not just talking about the look and feel. Far more important is the suitability to task: how well thought out are the most important and frequent tasks that a user will have to complete? Is critical information that I need to take action on represented effectively? How many clicks to get to it? Often times we get both excited and scared by large management frameworks. These can easily tend to present data in engineering terms of tables and lists without much thought to the objective. The last thing I want to see in a console is a lot of text in tables or generic plug-ins to meet some requirement to make data available. With so much R&D cost put into developing speeds, feeds and detection, are we as an industry investing appropriately in the equally important human interfaces?