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A little background on the question: I've recently come across an instance where a user is submitting a form to check their status on something. I've used lock icons on buttons for shopping purchase screens (check-out), but in this case the user isn't actually purchasing something.

Curious what everyone's thoughts are on the right time to use a lock icon to show something is secure? Especially when that something is form with personal information vs. a transaction like checking out with an online purchase.

Here's a more visual sample: Form field with secure icon in button

  • Does the lock icon necessarily indicate that it is secure? What does "secure" mean in this context? Maybe a screenshot would help here. – Steve Jones May 15 '18 at 19:37
  • Good question. I've included a stripped-down (de-branded) version of what I'm talking about. – Joshua Reach May 15 '18 at 20:16
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    To me, that wouldn't suggest security, but I'm probably an edge-case. Do you have enough users to do A/B testing? Also, don't like the implied consent with the Terms of Use, but that's another story... – Steve Jones May 16 '18 at 7:00
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I’d argue (particularly in the current climate) the right time to use a lock icon:

  • when the user is providing or entering personal information or attachments.

  • when the platform/product is taking something from the user (money, photos, uploads etc) in things like checkouts, password resets etc.

  • when a user’s information is being used for something (purchasing, deliveries, newsletters, messages, sms etc).

I’m sure there are more cases but those are I think pretty essential.

  • That's kind of what I'm thinking as well. This case I came across is purely a form with basic information. I wonder if it even adds value if you're only sending a form without any attachments. Or does a user expect a site to already be secure when providing this type of info. – Joshua Reach May 15 '18 at 20:21
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    If its information that the user is giving about themselves then regardless of attachments then it wouldnt hurt to reinforce the feel of security. A user would expect it regardless so its not something that is needed, but it may make a user feel more relaxed about giving you personal information. – UIO May 15 '18 at 20:25

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