Product Love Podcast: Jay Brewer, VP of Experience Design at Rapid7

Published Oct 30, 2019

This week on Product Love, I talked to Jay Brewer, the VP of experience design at Rapid7. Rapid7 collects data from across your environment, making it easy for teams to manage vulnerabilities, monitor for malicious behavior, investigate and shut down attacks, and automate operations. Before he was in the security space, Jay worked in the video game, toy, and music industries.

Video games are well-known for being engaging. They’re designed to connect with users on an emotional and psychological level. Candy Crush, for example, perfectly evokes delight yet just enough frustration that users keep trying to win, even after 100 tries. Jay believes that video games feel so all-encompassing because their designers are never truly done with their work. They’re constantly iterating to find innovative ways to keep players coming back. 

It’s truly a great space for any product person to learn engagement and retention. Jay credits a lot of his wisdom to working in the video game space. He reflects that it was definitely a transition to security, simply because security is something that affects everyone’s lives. The landscape is always changing and expanding. And it’s a challenging field because the data is sensitive, and hackers are always finding new ways to break through security systems.

This week, Jay and I talked about security and storytelling, and the importance of experience design. 

Storytelling Is Being Product Led

Storytelling is one of the best ways that product managers can influence the people around them. In fact, Jay believes it’s the trait that has led him to success. It allows product people to connect emotionally both with their own teams and across the company.

Previously, Rapid7 was a very sales-driven company. They weren’t as focused on the end-user, nor did they really see how their product could offer a “consumer-like” experience. Good storytelling illustrated how they could move beyond that mindset. Rather than thinking of the customer as vaguely in the security space, they put a face to their audience. They imagined a frustrated security person who would scan their network every day as part of their mundane routine, who wouldn’t have enough time for lunch because they needed to be alert, and who had a difficult time with their job overall. 

By painting a picture and aligning their company behind this end-user, Rapid7 could begin to empathize with them. They could see how they could improve this security person’s day-to-day. 

What Is Experience Design?

Experience design is about creating a seamless, holistic design experience. It combines product design, user research, and user-centered design. According to Jay, it’s about caring and partnering across the business to build an entire set of positive experiences, from initial use to repeat use.

Everything counts as part of your product journey, whether it’s support, communication, or billing. Experience design is taking a step back and looking at the customer’s journey to ensure that they’re reminded of the product’s value. How often are you telling users that they’re on the right track? Are you explaining how they can communicate this product’s value to their stakeholders? It’s about all the things that would make that person successful in the experience. Experience design encourages PMs to approach the customer journey not as a checkbox, but as a way to share real benefits with their users. 

Want to learn more about experience design and the security space? Listen to the podcast episode above.