Branding • Design • Mobile • UI • UX
CipherCat is an encryption text messaging application focused on user security and anonymity.
Date: August 2019
What problem am I solving?
Encryption applications on the market are simple but lack certain
features that would help improve anonymity. How can we keep it simple,
an effective form of communication, that carries all the same features users
are accustomed to, while directly being more secure.
Jumping on the SipherCatta team, I saw that they had an app made,
but the visual design was very simple. The usability of the application needed some improvement. Our users need it to be easy and very secure. Having talked through the audience and goal of SipherCatta we agreed an encrypted messaging application similar to Signal would be a good place to start. My direct client is a programmer and would be coding the application. I later changed the name to CipherCat based on user testing responses.
The original application had a long intro section, I felt it was a little overwhelming to start off with. There are a lot of steps to encrypt and decrypt a message. I worried that the app might go over a lot of people's heads. I was lucky that the client was a strong programmer and very open to talking about how to make CipherCat more user-friendly for the less tech-savvy individual.
These were the initial wireframes handed to me. I saw what the client had in mind, The icons didn't immediately make sense to me. I was new to their application concept, things that I didn't understand are things other users wouldn't understand either.
Color Logos | App Icons
These were made when the original name SipherCatta was still being used.
These were various concepts from busy to simple, and we decided to go with a more minimal design.
Initial Hi-Fi Screens
We liked a lot of the branding by this point, we were going in the right direction. Most encryption apps just use 1 main color and feel overly simple. I did several user interviews on the current design, aiming for people who had used Signal, Telegram, or a similar encryption application. I wanted to really go towards the hyper security aspect. A lot of changes were made from this version.
• Completely removed the encryption/decryption screen. Users didn't understand it and it was extra steps that could be integrated into the chat application itself like Signal does.
• I changed names to nicknames to encourage users to not use their own names, this will increase security.
• I added a pin number which so users have a forced level of security. Some users won't like that but many will know that the person they are messaging is under the same restrictions, adding an extra level of security from all users.
• Messages auto self destruct based on a globally set time which can be altered individually by the user that sent them.
• Tooltips that the user must click out of that recommend avoiding using a real name or picture of themselves.
• Settings to change whether the message's preview shows & if notifications display on your phone.
• Favorites added, via a star method.
• Ability to block contact
• No phone numbers shown in application, can add a user by screen name only.
Made using Figma + Adobe Illustrator
Since I was the only product designer and we needed a minimum viable product fairly quickly a lot of the research process happened simultaneously with the high fidelity prototypes. A specific user concerned with hyper privacy was targets and the main product was sculpted around that. Being able to synthesize a lot of data and design for that in quick rounds was vital.