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The Use of HCI Techniques in Evaluating Security Tools

Student Researchers: Ometere (Tuté) Ehinlaiye, Melissa A. Karolewski
Advisor: Dr. Rose Shumba


The aim of this project is to initiate some groundwork on improving user interfaces for computer security software. This will be achieved through evaluation of user interfaces for commonly used security tools 1against existing principles of good interface design for security software proposed by Whitten and Tygar and Kirchhoff’s laws. The outcome from this project will be a collection of available principles for good user interface design for security software and a set of case studies on the usability of the tools.

Activities of 2005-2006

  • Produced a report on user interface design guidelines.
  • Created a case study and tutorial in order to review current security tools.
  • The students planned to implement a session in order review users’ use of specific security tools but, because of the lengthiness of the IRB process, were unable to receive the authority to conduct research on human subjects through the use of tutorial.
  • The final report was submitted in May 2006.
  • The researchers and their advisor submitted a panel for the Grace Hopper Convention in San Diego, Calif., October 4-7, 2006. On June 2, 2006, the women received their panel acceptance! The women presented their panel on October 6, 2006. It was very well received.