Project Overview

About Security Master

Security Master is an antivirus and privacy protection app created by Cheetah Mobile. It includes multiple features that help users to quickly enhance the status of their Android smartphones, such as antivirus, privacy browsing, app lock, phone boost, battery saver and mobile performance optimization. The highest DAU has reached 60 million.

Problem Statement

Poor Revenue due to Low Conversion Rate

We were constantly adding new features to keep up with our competitors. This increases the size of the product, and slows down the performance on lower-end and old mobile phones. The result of low performance requires more time from our users to complete their journey. And the prolonged process is where we lose many users, resulting in a decrease in the Ad display rate in the result page. As an outcome, the lost opportunity to show our Ads have a negative impact to the revenue.


Revamp Product & Add an Intelligence Assistant

The UI design had not been changed since 2014, and our transition performance was not as smooth as competitors. In April 2017, we wanted to bring a new fresh look and add an intelligence assistant to differentiate ourselves from other products.

Project Goal

Rethink the Definition of Mobile Protection

  • Simplify process - Shorten the number of steps to the result page.

  • Prioritize features - Clear options for users to choose to efficiently complete
    their tasks.

  • Lighten the product - Clean up unnecessary features and enhance the interaction experience by applying lightweight animation technology, like Lottie.

Business Goal

Increase Ad Display Rate

  • Increase the result page conversion rate and boost Ad exposure

  • Find the perfect balance between Ads and user experience

Users & Audience

45+ Years Old Users with 3+ Years Phone

From our research, we found that our main users are 45+ years old who frequently use smartphones. With budgeted spending, they rarely purchase
high-end smartphones and only replace their phones when necessary. Therefore, clearing up space and optimizing phone status are very important to them.

Design Challenge

Revamp the Product in 6 Weeks

Project scope and requirements are as below:

  • Redesign UI, user flow, product strategy and design guideline. 

  • Prioritize features and simplify user flow. 

  • Optimize UI scheme such as visual hierarchy, color contrast, design consistency. 

  • An alternative plan for interim version and weekly updates. 

  • Resource management - request more resources from the tech team for the development of the new design.

My Role

Working with 5 designers, 10+ developers and 3 product managers, I was responsible for branding, user flow and hi-fi mockup. I conducted the ideation workshop and proposed Concept 2. In addition, I mentored a junior designer to finish Concept 5.

Independent product owner partnered closely with 3 product managers and tech leads. I was in charge of maintaining the project, and was responsible for the weekly update requests from product managers.

Key Deliverables

  • User flow

  • Interactive prototype

  • New design guideline

  • Branding

  • Design pitch presentation

  • Avatar character design

  • High-fi mockups

  • Icon fonts update 

Design Process

Competitive Analysis

Sinking Into Feature Competition

As many tech companies starting to join the antivirus and privacy protection business, we were gradually losing our leading position. Avast Antivirus, 360 security and AVG Antivirus were the major three identified as direct competitors, offering similar service as ours. We began sinking into feature competition with our competitors in the past year, constantly adding many features without considering the user flow. After a year, analysis showed that not only our DAU/ MAU was not improving, our bounce rate was also increasing. The feature competition didn’t make Security Master more competitive, instead it cluttered our user flow. Our goal to redesign was very clear and we needed to restructure the product.

We tried to align all the features with our competitors rather than distinguishing our unique selling point.

Understanding Our Users From Their Feedback

We have been regularly collecting our user feedback and data resources, but we didn’t spend much time consolidating them due to the feature competition we had. This time around, we finally have the chance to listen to our users’ needs and understand their frustrations. 


We found some key pain points:

  • Too many notifications

  • Frequently asking users to optimize their phone

  • Too many Ads

  • Confusing interface and terminology

UI/UX Problems in Previous Design

Most features working process are similar, such as clean junk, scan virus and phone boost. With the limited timeline, we picked one of our main features “Scan Virus” for the design mockup ideation. We found some visual and usability problems:

  • Most users cannot recognize the background color as a representation of the security level, such as blue means safe, red means danger, etc..

  • Too many interfering actions while scanning threats.

  • The status of the security is mixed up with a call to action.

  • Virus scan analysis takes too long, this is where we lose many users.

Old Scan Process


First Round Design Pitch

Once we identify the problems of “Scan Virus”, we asked our designers to either come up with a new idea or optimize the current flow. At this stage, quantity is more important than quality.

Concept 1

Concept 2

Concept 3

Concept 4

Concept 5

Avatar - A Symbol of Intelligence

One of the key requirements from our product managers was to create an avatar, a character that can represent our intelligent protection. The avatar serves as an assistant within the app that responds to users’ questions and confusions. We were warned not to design something like “Clippit”, an annoying, interloper that is distracting to the users.

3 Rough Design



As the outcome of our discussion with product managers and stakeholders, we think concept 1 fulfills all requirements the best. Combining pros from the other concepts, concept 1 moved forward as the main direction.

Clear Security Level Status

Compared to the old design, we separated the phone status and action. This provides a clear view of the current security status of the phone and a button that tells them what to do.

Simplified Scan Process

We simplified the scan process from 4 steps to only one click. By removing unnecessary notifications and interlope actions, the redesigned process is simple and straightforward. With the new design, users take less time to complete their journey and can quickly get to the results page. This satisfies our goal to increase ad exposure without sacrificing user experience. 

Design Expanding

To maintain design consistency, we implemented the same design languages to the rest of the features and screens.

Intelligent Assistant “Tipi”

Tipi is an intelligent assistant, it can be used in many marketing promotions as well. We were certain that Tipi cannot be an annoying feature, it has to be an assistant that is actually helpful to our users. This is something we need to learn from our users through data analysis. However, before we have data, we predicted some scenarios to display Tipi that we assumed is helpful, such as result page, update reminder and after scanned.

Design Guideline

A design guideline was quickly defined for the developers to efficiently update the UI.


Positive Recognition

The redesigned product received positive feedback from the managers and users. Our users stated the interface looks very clean and is easier to navigate. Even though our business goals were not satisfied as business team expected, what we got out of the project was way beyond the revenue.

Influenced Company Culture

We changed the culture of the company, and we proved that a redesign is doable within a short timeline. We showed our product managers the importance to listen to real users and the value of a redesign, it can greatly enhance the usability. Our project was used as an example in our Beijing headquarter, there were more than 5 products that went through the same process after we’ve proven the benefit of a redesign.

Reddot Design 2017

Last but not least, our project was awarded by reddot communication design in 2017, the first design award Cheetah Mobile has ever received. We’ve proven that not only data, design can further add great value to the product.

The highest rated security app

Protect over 500 million phones globally. 100% virus & malware detection certified by world leading research lab, AV-TEST

“Love the app, great interface and cool features.” 

- Baylee Parsons

“Muito bom mesmo, parabéns aos desenvolvedores pela nova atualização, ficou ótima essa interface e os novos recursos.” 

- Jean Gomes

“The Cheetah Mobile antivirus application 3 years ago was absolutely fantastic. The new Master version is far beyond the expectations that I had coming in as a beta tester. All of its many parts move fluidly and accurately, without slowing my smartphones processing. I could not ask for a better antivirus system on my smartphone.”

- Daniel J Callaghan IV

“The app is even better than before since the new version. Smooth operation, sleek package! I've tried many others with dismal results. If I could have one wish, it is a photo edit app from your Co. If your security apps are an indication of your talents it would be great. If you have an editing app. Please let me know. Thanks so much! ”

- H Coody

Promotional Video by Marketing team 

Lessons Learned 

  • The intelligence avatar, “Tipi”
    Initially we created an avatar character to assist users with their problems, however the CTR of “Tipi” was very low. In the end, we learned that the assumption we made didn’t quite fulfil our users' needs. Comments from many users were about Tipi being very confusing, even with the onboarding introduction we’d given. We need to figure out the reason why Tipi is unintuitive, and not helpful for our users. By following up data analysis and research, and we should reevaluate the necessity of existence for this intelligent assistant.

  • Listen to the users
    Our product managers used to only use data to understand our users. After redesign, they started to pay attention to our user research and feedback.

What We Can Improve

Our Beijing headquarter was really excited to see the results of the redesign, they took back the project in November 2017. The redesign is a long journey of the planning and iteration, not in a snap of fingers. I enjoyed being a part of the redesign process, however, I believe we still have a long journey to go with our users. We need to have deeper learning of our users, this will guide us to understand their real pain points. And from there we can offer the right solutions to delight them. Moving forward, my advice for the team who will take over the project include the following:

  • Clean up unnecessary features
    The existence of features with click rates below 0.3% should be reevaluated.

  • Health monitoring
    Identify goals and metrics to develop an ongoing measurement plan to track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This KPI can be used to indicate any UX issues.

  • Experimentation
    Regularly run and evaluate A/B and multivariate tests.

© 2019 by Jason CT Yang.