[messaging] Let's run a usability study (was Useability of public-key fingerprints)

Christine Corbett Moran corbett at alum.mit.edu
Thu Mar 6 04:49:04 PST 2014

Re: Usability of public-key fingerprints I just had lunch with a good
friend of mine, who is a professor at my university and often does
usability studies of information representation, including eye tracking.
Her work is concentrated in geo-visualization, but she gave me some advice
as to how long an experiment might take to set up, etc. She thinks the
setup and running of a pilot would be less than a week of work, not
 including data analysis.

She's willing to do a pilot study (<10 people, <1 day) and potentially
supervise a student to do a more extensive study, and has the intuition
that already a pilot could be of good use for informing further design and

What we'd need to get started is a list of methods we'd want to test, and
some comparisons based on those methods to incorporate in the experiment.

If this is something the community is interested in, we could create some
kind of common repo to put methods, tests in, and I can show that to her as
a first step. I don't have bandwidth for micromanaging the methods/tests
gathering, so if we want it to happen someone else needs to take the lead


On Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 3:20 AM, Peter Gutmann <pgut001 at cs.auckland.ac.nz>wrote:

> Daniel Kahn Gillmor <dkg at fifthhorseman.net> writes:
> >I'd also be interested in a study about whether people even try to check
> >fingerprints *at all*.
> Already done, "Do Users Verify SSH Keys?" from 2011,
> https://www.usenix.org/system/files/login/articles/105484-Gutmann.pdf.
> tl;dr: "Abstract: No".
> Peter.
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