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The main application, the McAfee Security Center, is well-designed. The user interface offers two views into the feature set: Basic and Advanced. The Basic view surfaces the more important and widely used features of the product and allows the user to access them by way of big buttons. [mcafee_security_center_basic_menu.JPG]
This view reduces the confusion new users might face with some of the more advanced features and gives the casual user an easy way to accomplish basic tasks using VirusScan.
The Advanced view is set up hierarchically with relationships between items moving from left to right. [mcafee_security_center_advanced_menu_scan.JPG)]
Whereas the basic menu has a single "Scan" button, not allowing you to choose which type of scan to run (virus or malware), the Advanced menu lets you set options for your scan and configure scan locations and the like.
The engineers at McAfee smartly brought real-time help more to the surface. Instead of relying on roll-over heuristics for its menu items, McAfee VirusScan Plus 2007 sports an "i" glyph next to many options.
Clicking on the glyph produces a tooltip for the item in question. While roll-over tooltips are helpful, I found the McAfee approach effective for two reasons. First, tooltips are produced only when the user needs them, instead of being produced simply by moving your mouse over a specific area of the user interface. Second, and more importantly, it shows clearly that help is available for specific UI items. I think many novice and surface users will appreciate this.
The McAfee Security Center integrates cleanly with the Windows Security Center and provides a seamless experience between the two.
I have one minor complaint about the UI. The interface doesn't provide breadcrumbs to help navigate the relationships between screens. For instance, if I'm on the home screen and click the Computer and Files button, two "Configure" buttons appear.
There is little to indicate the difference in functionality between these two buttons. Clicking the upper "Configure" button takes you to "Computer and Files Configuration".
Clicking on the lower "Configure" button takes you to "Security Center Configuration".
In neither case does the interface indicate the relationship between the two configuration screens and the rest of the UI, nor is it clear how to get back to the screen from which you just came.