Monday, June 28, 2010

Authentication stinks.

I love researching and designing user experiences.

There are so many ways to make them not only not suck, but also to make them good, happy, even wonderful. Designers influence nearly every aspect of the user experience these days. UX people have a seat at nearly every table in the organization, helping to make great experiences for customers and users.

There's one table left: Security.

We don't have a seat next to the CSO because we have neglected that part of the experience, and because (usually), the CSO is a paranoid who is really scary so we think we can't influence that part of the experience.

This is a call for action: Let's make friends with the security people. Let's teach them to look at the tradeoffs between security and usability. Let's help them understand that authentication is part of the customer experience that is so important, it could be killing the business.

Think of all the times you log into something each day, each time you identify yourself to something or someone. What's that like? Why are you putting up with it? Why are you letting your customers go through that?

In this blog, I'm going to catalog every encounter with authentication that I can get my hands on and discuss the design implications of what the imposer of the authentication is creating and possibly missing.

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