2008-06-20

Enabling security through effective interface design

Kudos to the Mozilla Firefox team. I upgraded to Firefox 3 today, and shortly thereafter went to Travelocity to schedule a trip. To my great pleasure, I noticed that the SSL certificate is provided in the URL bar, with a green background to indicate it's trusted.

This information has always been available to users, but how to access it - or even the need to - wasn't something intuitively obvious. The little lock showed up, so everything is encrypted, meaning I'm fine, right? With this interface, you not only clearly see that the certificate is valid, but who it has been issued to. This required a bit of clicking around before - something few were willing to do. Admit it, how often did you check?

Not only that, but the most important details appear at the click of a button, not in a separate window but as a pop-out. Of course, the complete details are also available.

This is precisely how the industry can empower users to act securely and make the right decisions without a second thought. More integration of security features into interface design is exactly what we need, and I'm glad to see the Mozilla team start to walk that path.

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