Announcing USABLE!

October 9, 2015

[☺] We’re very excited to announce USABLE: Usable Security Apps By Leveraging End Users! USABLE, a project of Internews, brings a human centered design lens to digital security tools through a three-phase process (detailed out below) with add-on benefits of producing community-led user personas, connecting tool developers with trainers and at-risk users, and encouraging sharing of design patterns and usability challenges along the way.

We’re just getting started and are locking in our first communities, and expect to be running these needs-based trainings throughout early 2016. We will be sharing the user personas and learnings from these trainings over the next few months.

USABLE's Approach

PHASE I: Tool Feedback Trainings

USABLE starts by working with communities around the world with concerns about privacy and digital security because of who they are or what they do. USABLE is working with local partners on a needs assessment, and then will design a digital security training based on those needs.

This will not be a “normal” training (if indeed those even exist), as we will match-make the needs of the community with a digital security tool that addresses the security needs, and work with interested developers to send them to the training. In addition, a usability expert will also attend and co-facilitate, leading some “blue sky” design work, and helping the community craft a user persona to represent their capabilities, constraints, and desires to others.

These trainings will work with each community through design exercises to reveal both pain-points with the tool they have focused on, but also broader insights into challenges which impact multiple digital security tools.


The second phrase brings together the facilitators and key participants from each of these Tool Feedback Trainings for a 4-day workshop to cross-share the experiences, identify low-hanging fruit, and put together roadmaps to address achievable usability improvements. This “UXForum” will take place in Summer 2016.

At the UXForum, we will also run some sidebar conversations around formalizing design practices in trainings and working with developers.


The third phase will be providing tool developers with funding to implement usability enhancements based on these experiences, adopting a more human-centered design approach through continued engagement with design experts, and through user-testing with the communities (where safe) and trainers.


We are pursuing opportunities to expand this work even further with additional Tool Feedback Trainings, and adapting and evolving our approach as we learn more from this process. Interested in where we go next? Please get in touch a [email protected]

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