Behind-the-Scenes: Emerging Conversations from Slack

Thank you to everyone contributing to the Simply Secure Slack channel. If you’re interested in joining, email slack@simplysecure.org for an invitation. I’m especially eager to get more UX people in privacy and security involved, so spread the world. Here are some highlights from our recent Slack conversations.

Sharing the Rationale for UX Decisions

Check out Gabriel Tomescu’s The Anatomy of a Credit Card Form sharing the Wave design team’s process for arriving at an elegant, easy-to-use form. It includes a quote that spoke to me, “Given the existing mental model of paying with credit cards online, we felt the presence of one lock icon was sufficient.” Indeed.

Subtle improvements to Wave’s credit card form

Subtle improvements to Wave’s credit card form

Communicating Technical Benefits vs. User Benefits

Stewart Butterfield wrote We Don’t Sell Saddles Here, which speaks eloquently to selling benefits of horseback-riding, not saddles. A technically savvy crypto audience will happily geek out about the details of different saddles. Meanwhile everyday computer users are still puzzling, “This helps me ride a horse? But why? And how does this help?”.

Security: Cuddly and Fierce

Tunnel Bear’s brand is more about horseback-riding than saddles. Their website doesn’t lead with “VPN” to describe what it is. Instead of shields, locks, or keys they use bears. Bears!

Tunnel Bears are approachably cuddly, but also fierce

Tunnel Bears are approachably cuddly, but also fierce

Tunnel Bears are approachably cuddly, but also fierce

Look for me at SOUPS in Ottawa this week. I’ll be presenting a lightning talk on ”Security is Not Enough: Design for Security Engagement” on Thursday afternoon. I’d love to chat if you’re there.

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Last week Gus and I gave a talk at Shmoocon in DC. The focus was on helping technologists who don't have experience in human-centered design processes conduct basic research to improve their existing open-source tools. We covered four basic steps that we believe even small or volunteer teams can take: Agree on your target users Do an expert review of your UX to identify (& fix) low-hanging fruit Interview real users Build a model of your users and their needs Smooth the path for user feedback Iterate until you get it right Overall the talk was well received, with a few choice quotes making their way onto Twitter.

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