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.

Related

Your Software Can Help At-risk People, Too

Web browsers are utility software; they are designed to work for all people. Not only must their features meet the needs of average members of a population, they must also work for people with special needs. As Firefox says on its mobile accessibility features page, the browser has been "designed to meet the needs of the broadest population possible," but "sometimes that is not enough." In particular, software that is built for everyone can too often leave people with specific security or privacy needs at risk.

Maximizing Meaning in Empty States

It can be hard to communicate about security-related features with users who aren't already security experts. From word choice to the level of detail included, it's easy to overwhelm people with information, leave them scared, or bore them to indifference. For many applications, one major challenge is finding the right place to communicate. Empty states – screens in your app where there is no actual content to display – are a great opportunity for this communication, in part because they frequently occur when the user is first starting out.

MozFest 2021 - Will we see you there?

Over the next 2 weeks, Simply Secure will be hosting five sessions at the first virtual Mozilla Festival. If you’ll be there, we’d love to see you, learn about your work, and collaborate. Come join us!