With over two decades of experience, Spamhaus is the leader in threat intelligence. One of the services they offer is an online tool that allows anyone to check if an IP address or domain is listed on one of Spamhaus’ blocklists. My team at Make it Clear was tasked with redesigning the user experience of the Spamhaus IP and Domain Reputation Checker.
Finding your IP or domain on a Spamhaus blocklist can be a stressful experience. The listing can appear for several reasons and the consequences, as well as the delisting procedure vary between blocklists, making the process confusing.
Spamhaus identified a need to better support their broad user base and provide experts with the necessary technical information without overwhelming casual users. They used this opportunity to update the look-and-feel of their decade-old tool to reduce friction and provide a more positive user experience.
As a UX designer, I took an active part in the initial research phase, helped define the interface structure, and worked on the wireframes. I also conducted and reported on the usability testing and managed the development handover.
As a part of a wider project optimising Spamhaus website, we conducted a series of research interviews with existing users. This helped identify the key friction points and informed user persona and journey map creation.
We identified four key user groups for the IP and Domain Reputation Checker. The most frequent (estimated 50%) is the casual user Ben who gets notified that his email has been blocklisted by Spamhaus. He may attempt to get delisted himself or seek help from the deliverability analyst like Steph (15%), who is monitoring the reputation of her customers’ IPs and domains. Finally, another sizable user group (25%) are receivers like Rachel, who may use the Spamhaus tool if they become a target of spam or phishing campaigns.
We mapped the priority journeys for each user type, noting their goals and challenges. We also identified opportunities for improvement and how the new interface can better support each user on every step of their journey.
We had a full-day workshop with the Spamhaus team, as well as our SEO and development partners. In this workshop we reviewed the research findings, created task flows for the priority user journeys and agreed on the success criteria for further work: creating a clear, supportive, and positive user experience.
Based on the talk flows developed during the workshop, we created high-fidelity wireframes of the ten priority screens. We iterated with the client to achieve optimal structure, content, and functionality for each step.
The UI design team styled the interface in line with the existing brand guidelines as well as the work we did on other parts of the Spamhaus website. At the later stages of this phase, I created a style guide with detailed instruction for how each UI element should look and behave. I also finalised the designs, prepared assets for delivery and managed the development handover with our partner agency Bluefuse.
Once the interface was built, I conducted a series of six usability testing sessions. Since it is extremely difficult to recruit the actual Spamhaus users, we opted for doing the testing with internal stakeholders who assumed the roles of the user groups they are most familiar with. I then reported on the findings, implemented the agreed optimisations, and helped check and prepare it for the launch.
The new IP and Domain Reputation Checker went live in February 2021. It enables easy lookup, guides users through the removal process and provides a clear and positive user experience.