Prepare to Design the Future
March 19–20, 2017: Training
March 20–22, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Francisco, CA

Designing trustable products: Microinteractions matter for secure UX

Ame Elliott (Simply Secure), Elizabeth Goodman (18F / General Services Administration), Adrienne Porter Felt (Google), Jennifer King (UC Berkeley School of Information)
3:35pm–4:15pm Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Beyond the screen
Location: Tower Salon A
Level: Beginner
Average rating: **...
(2.50, 6 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Mid-level to senior designers of applications, particularly those in privacy-conscious domains like communications, social media, banking, healthcare, and law

What you'll learn

  • Understand why ongoing research is key to understanding what people understand about their security—and what makes them comfortable
  • Explore how collaboration between designers, engineers, researchers, and policy experts creates experiences that users trust are secure
  • Learn how trust is built—or lost—in specific microinteraction details


Ame Elliott, Elizabeth Goodman, Adrienne Porter Felt, and Jennifer King have a conversation about the whys and hows of microinteractions, a particularly important way to build trust. Historically, security has been treated as an engineering topic, with UX separated from the technical implementation. This division of labor undermines user trust because most users can’t assess technical security merit and instead make decisions about trust based on the quality of UX. If people don’t trust your product to protect them from theft, harassment, or even physical violence, they won’t use your product. Designers need to get involved with the mechanisms of protection and help users understand how the product protects them.

Beginning with examples from web applications, including Chrome’s browser security indicators and large-scale deployments of authentication and identity verification, Ame, Elizabeth, Adrienne, and Jennifer discuss how to build trust with microinteractions, grounded in current best practices in usable security, and address how to adapt and extend successful microinteractions into the emerging areas of wearable and embedded devices, which bring computing closer to the body and to domestic spaces.

Microinteractions are how the hard work of security is successfully communicated to the end user. These examples demonstrate how engineering, data, UI, design, research, and policy work together to deliver the trustworthy experiences necessary to insure broad adoption of your products and services.

Photo of Ame Elliott

Ame Elliott

Simply Secure

Ame Elliott is design director at nonprofit Simply Secure, where she cultivates a community of user experience designers working on open source secure communication. Previously, Ame spent eight years at IDEO San Francisco, where, as design research lead, she delivered human-centered tech strategy for clients such as Acer, Ericsson, and Samsung, and was a research scientist at Xerox PARC and Ricoh Innovations. She holds eight patents and is the author of numerous publications, including a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology. Her design work has been included in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and recognized with awards from the AIGA, IDSA/IDEA, the Edison Awards, and the Webby Awards. Ame holds a PhD in design theory and methods from the University of California, Berkeley.

Photo of Elizabeth Goodman

Elizabeth Goodman

18F / General Services Administration

Elizabeth Goodman investigates the possibilities and perils of emerging technologies in her design, research, and writing. Elizabeth’s work has taken her from exploratory research and design teams at Intel, Yahoo, and Fuji-Xerox to her current position with 18F, a service and product design group within the US government aimed at making federal agencies more efficient, more transparent, more accessible, and more accountable to the people they serve. She authored the second edition of Observing the User Experience, a widely used handbook of design research methods and speaks widely on the design of mobile and pervasive computing systems at conferences, schools, and businesses. Elizabeth holds a PhD from UC Berkeley’s School of Information, where her research focused on human-computer interaction and design practice for novel technologies and was supported by National Science Foundation and Intel fellowships. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.

Photo of Adrienne Porter Felt

Adrienne Porter Felt


Adrienne Porter Felt leads Google’s Chrome Usable Security team, the group responsible for building (and improving) the browser security features that you can see, like security indicators, browser warnings, and permissions. One of the team’s major initiatives is promoting HTTPS—increasing HTTPS adoption among developers and explaining its value more clearly to end users. Adrienne does a mix of frontend work (building UI), experimental design, large-scale data analysis, and managing. Previously, she was a research scientist on Google’s Security Research team. Adrienne holds a PhD in computer science from UC Berkeley, where her work focused on permission systems.

Photo of Jennifer King

Jennifer King

UC Berkeley School of Information

Jennifer King is a social technologist who draws upon her training in the social sciences and human-computer interaction to investigate the issues that arise when technology and society collide. Most recently as a researcher at the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley’s School of Law, Jennifer focused on privacy and security on the internet, in sensor networks, and in ubiquitous computing environments (including RFID and video surveillance technologies), usable security, and technology policy issues. Previously, she worked in security and product management for several internet companies, including Yahoo, where she was an online community expert. Jennifer holds a master’s degree in information science from UC Berkeley’s School of Information, where she is currently a PhD candidate.