Dec 07, 2021
Inside Tanium: An employee committed to unifying the worlds of design and tech at Tanium
As security technologies advance swiftly, UX designers step up to avoid compromises between security and usabilityBy Leanna Chraghchian, Content Marketing, Tanium
In today’s digitally driven world, Tanium user experience (UX) designers like Erika Haydon are key to making the interaction between Tanium and its users efficient, understandable, and enjoyable.
Originally from Archer, Florida, Erika began her design journey as a Communication Design major at Syracuse University. After surviving their rigorous program, where a professor “literally lit projects on fire if he thought they weren’t up to snuff,” she began her professional career diving into different design applications: in-store display, packaging, outdoor, etc.
As her career in advertising progressed, so did the excitement: Clients like PepsiCo led her to international locations, directing celebrities like Christina Aguilera and the Black Eyed Peas on photoshoots. Longing for more fulfilling work, she continued as the Creative Director of an agency committed to sustainability. Here is where she began focusing more on digital design applications.
In 2018, she joined the Tanium family as a senior UX designer. We sat down with Erika to learn more about her Tanium story.
Erika Haydon: Ever since I was a little girl, art has been my obsession. I skipped the sporting activities at school to draw. I’ve always wanted to pursue design, but the specifics weren’t as clear. I’ve never been afraid to try anything new, and that’s really served me well throughout my career. I’m always game for whatever the new application of design is. There’s fun in that. So, once I found UX, I knew this was it — this was what I wanted to do. With UX, you’re solving a problem that actually impacts people and that is really important for me. I want my job to have a purpose.
Considering your past experiences, are there any unique aspects you appreciate at Tanium?
Erika Haydon: Definitely. I really value the culture here. There’s this collective ownership and “can-do” spirit that is pervasive throughout the teams I interact with. I find that really inspiring. You truly feel heard here.
What responsibilities do you take on as a UX designer?
Erika Haydon: Every day is different. We’re a small team, which means we get to wear a lot of hats. I love that part of it. At some companies, designers only focus on one particular skill. That’s not the case at Tanium. I may be brainstorming with designers to make our Homepage more intuitive in the morning, meeting with a Product Manager about a feature request in the afternoon, and syncing with engineers on interaction patterns in the evening. It’s a wide spectrum of work we do, always something new and exciting.
How has your role changed through Tanium’s growth?
Erika Haydon: When I first started, Tanium was focused on making the product work. The past 3+ years have been a really exciting time to be a designer at Tanium. The company has awakened to the power and potential of design. It’s been exhilarating and fun to be a part of that process.
How do you like working with your team at Tanium?
Erika Haydon: It truly is an honor and a privilege to work alongside such talented, driven, experienced and kind designers! Our hiring process really pays off because we find people who are experts in what they do but are also team players. The environment is also very humble and supportive. Our manager Doug Vander Molen has done an incredible job building a team that feels more like a family. He really cares about each one of us and that attitude trickles down throughout the team. He understands the dynamics of our team and glues us together beautifully.
Are there any projects that you’re particularly proud of?
Erika Haydon: Data Explorer! It’s a product I’ve been working on for two years that re-envisions how users interact with our data. Tanium has tons of data, but it’s not the easiest to absorb, filter or share. We are alleviating those pain points with a new way to explore data. Soon, users will be able to add columns of data, build visualizations and save, export and share those insights. They’ll also be able to take action directly from that view. For example, if they find critical vulnerabilities that need to be patched, they can kick off that workflow directly from that view. This will make it a lot easier to harvest the data insights customers are looking for and better secure their environments. It’s a beast — a beast that’s taking some time, but it’s going to be amazing.
What advice would you give anyone growing their career at Tanium?
Erika Haydon: A good idea can come from anywhere and actually become real at Tanium. At most companies, you have to be at a leadership level to have an idea that’s going to come to fruition. That’s not the case here. We’re always improving and there are infinite ways to do that. Everybody’s entitled to contribute and propose solutions. That’s what employees should take advantage of. Don’t wait for someone to ask what you think. Be proactive in things you feel strongly about — keep pushing and they will happen eventually. I got Data Explorer!