There are a number of resources with well-defined standards and practices for UX, and there are principles in security relevant to UX such as the principle of Psychological Acceptability. However, as far as I can tell the intersection between security principles and UX design are generally loose or superficial, and there are often contradictions. Are there any major resources that detail the process and principles of designing a secure system with UX in mind?

1 Answer 1


There is a research study called USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN FOR SECURITY on the topic which delivered this great poster and the paper Low-cost Manufacturing, Usability, and Security: An Analysis of Bluetooth Simple Pairing and Wi-Fi Protected Setup looks very promising and comes to this conclusion:

This focus of this paper is not security setup per se; it is about making setup processes consistent. Consistency makes setup more usable – and by extension, more secure. Security features can only benefit consumers if setup is successful. Many of the problems in Bluetooth Simple Pairing and Wi-Fi Protected Setup stem from the multitude of setup methods available. Several methods exist to accommodate vendors who opt for lower manufacturing costs. The feature sets selected for lower costs force system designers to use setup methods that are neither usable nor secure.

Simple Pairing and Protected Setup could be improved by:

  1. requiring a common set of hardware features for compliant devices; and
  2. specifying a consistent user experience, via common menu options, common user interaction flows, and a common framework for error logging.

This requires that the specifications converge to a small number of setup scenarios – preferably one, maybe two. It may raise some vendors’ manufacturing costs, but consumers will be better able to setup wireless devices themselves

Reference: Kuo, Cynthia, Jesse Walker, and Adrian Perrig. "Low-cost Manufacturing, Usability, and Security: An Analysis of Bluetooth Simple Pairing and Wi-Fi Protected Setup." Usable Security (USEC'07), Lowlands, Scarborough, Tobago, February 15 - 16, 2007.

There is a connection between a consistent UI and security in the sense that consistency itself makes a user know how to set up a secure connection. Possibly this should follow the UI-guidelines of the digital environment as well. IPhone/iPad has its style, Android theirs and Windows 8 style its own. But if you can combine both the styles of the digital environment and the User Experience of Security – it makes security useful.

  • Benny, thank you so much for the response. It's extremely helpful in the scope of what I'm trying to learn.
    – ramblinjan
    Sep 8, 2012 at 0:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.