“Feeling Secure” Published in ACM Interactions

Posted by jgro in Articles, News

Today my article on the user experience of security, and its emotional underpinings in feelings of respect for users, was published in ACM SICGHI’s journal Interactions. This was part of a special issue exploring the relationship between security and user experience.

An excerpt:

A sense of control is what makes people feel secure. It produces a physical and emotional experience that encompasses predictive awareness, agency, and freedom from threat. At a minimum, control allows the perception of security. This is true of individuals, groups, corporations and governments. It’s something that the developed world has become somewhat addicted to feeling. When people lose control, they notice.

This is what makes the intersection of control and HCI so challenging. The functional benefit of a secure user experience for the end-user—security—is largely out of their control. Whether the redundant firewalls, intrusion detection systems, or uptight password expiration policy works or not, most users of “secure” systems know that it is out of their hands. It is in the hands of faceless good guys tailing logs in a datacenter, or faceless bad guys writing the newest malware for spamming and shakedowns.

Building secure user experiences is about respect for the user.

If you’re an ACM member, you can read the article on the ACM Portal directly.

We’ll be posting the full text here eventually, but if you are interested, drop us a line and we’ll get you a copy.

Thanks to Ryan West for putting together a great series of articles.