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Alex Ainslie

Alex Ainslie

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Google Publications
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    Preview abstract We propose a new set of browser security indicators, based on user research and an understanding of the design challenges faced by browsers. To motivate the need for new security indicators, we critique existing browser security indicators and survey 1,329 people about Google Chrome's indicators. We then evaluate forty icons and seven complementary strings by surveying thousands of respondents about their perceptions of the candidates. Ultimately, we select and propose three indicators. Our proposed indicators have been adopted by Google Chrome, and we hope to motivate others to update their security indicators as well. View details
    Improving SSL Warnings: Comprehension and Adherence
    Somas Thyagaraja
    Alan Bettes
    Helen Harris
    Jeff Grimes
    Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors and Computing Systems, ACM (2015)
    Preview abstract Browsers warn users when the privacy of an SSL/TLS connection might be at risk. An ideal SSL warning would empower users to make informed decisions and, failing that, guide confused users to safety. Unfortunately, users struggle to understand and often disregard real SSL warnings. We report on the task of designing a new SSL warning, with the goal of improving comprehension and adherence. We designed a new SSL warning based on recommendations from warning literature and tested our proposal with microsurveys and a field experiment. We ultimately failed at our goal of a well-understood warning. However, nearly 30% more total users chose to remain safe after seeing our warning. We attribute this success to opinionated design, which promotes safety with visual cues. Subsequently, our proposal was released as the new Google Chrome SSL warning. We raise questions about warning comprehension advice and recommend that other warning designers use opinionated design. View details
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