Are there any guide lines on how to implement security related interfaces?

I guess this isn't the best interface possible, as it caused a mass panic of probably at least a million Hawaiians:

False button caused missile threat mass panic


  • 2
    It would be challenging to make this question broader. Jan 16, 2018 at 23:56
  • 1
    More descriptive labels and chunking into types of warnings would go a long way to start. Not to mention a confirmation screen explicitly explaining what's about to happen. As for best practises for security related interfaces; this too heavily depends on what it's for. Jan 17, 2018 at 9:29
  • This is a perfect example of a lack of Poka Yoke!
    – Dwev
    Jan 17, 2018 at 15:33

2 Answers 2


Any critical action should be highlighted as such. here is an example...

enter image description here


All systems should have usability testing, but safety critical systems need it.

The testing needed for a system like this has several fairly complex requirements. They need to test to ensure that the system can be activated when needed, and that it inhibits inadvertent activation. They may find that new-hires or contractors are more easily confused, so the testing team needs to bring in people with no experience as well as seasoned veterans. And if other answers are any indication, it should be tested by color-blind people.

And the thing about emergency response systems is they need to be usable in an emergency. While it's difficult to simulate the mental stress of an actual emergency, they still should do the usability testing in a high stress environment. Maybe they need to design the tests so the subjects are very busy with another series of time-critical, rapid-fire, heavy-concentration tasks, and while they are in the middle of juggling those tasks, they are told to drop everything and send out a "Volcano erupting - evacuate now!" message.

But those are obvious to anyone. Risk analysis should be done to identify additional test scenarios needed.

  • 1
    All systems should have usability testing, but safety critical systems need it. Not if you are a government agency and buy from the lowest bidder! :) Jan 22, 2018 at 21:04

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