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I'm working on a browser add-on that has some novel usability ideas, and I'd like to test them out on some users. The add-on interacts with the user's password data and usage, and I'd like to collect some (non-identifying or exploitable) data. In particular, I'd like to keep track of how many passwords a user has, the average number of sites they're used on, the number of characters in each password, etc.

I realize that I'm treading on potentially shaky ground here. Where could I find users interested in testing such an add-on? How can I assure them that it's safe?

Other than open sourcing the code, which I'm already planning to do.

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A possible option is to simply spread some social media about the plug in and post it on addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox (or whatever browser add on site) assuming it doesn't violate their ToS. Have an explanation and see if anyone uses it. –  Ben Brocka Nov 29 '11 at 15:41
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2 Answers 2

"Where could I find users interested in testing such an add-on?"

Moms. Church secretaries. The pointy haired boss. Basically anyone that would be naive enough to install a browser plugin that tracks their passwords. These people are also a direct correlation to the people's machine's I need to wipe clean and reinstall the OS every holiday when I see them. ;)

And, realistically, I doubt those are your target demographic anyways. I think open source is the only viable way to go. Hopefully some security-aware developers or the like will trust the software enough to help out with testing.

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This plugin uses the browser's native password manager, which encrypts all of the password on disk. My target demographic is users in general, and I'm already planning to open source this. Specifically, I'm looking for places on the Internet I could find interested testers. I know services like Mechanical Turk don't allow software to be installed on a user's machine. –  psawaya Nov 28 '11 at 3:40
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Well an alternative approach would be to look at students who would be interested in keeping track of the numerous passwords they have .They are generally tech savvy and you would be able to get considerable user feedback about potential bugs or concerns

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