USABLE Methodology: UX Feedback Collection Approaches

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Integrating User-experience Activities into Existing Training Practices

This methodology may be used by digital security trainers, user-experience experts, and open source tool teams and is broken down into parts:

  • Part I: Activities to Better Understand your Users:
  • Part II: Tool-specific Feedback
  • Part III: Feedback Outside of Trainings
  • Part IV: Communicating with Developers

Introduction

The USABLE project (Usable Security Apps by Leveraging End-users) is building feedback loops across the world, connecting digital security trainers working with at-risk communities, design experts, and open source tool developers. This human-centered design approach to the development of digital security software aims to solve real problems and build better, more usable tools for communities who need them most.

Over the last three years, the USABLE project has worked with over 50 trainers from around the globe, 11 designers and UX experts, and 7 open source tool teams building products that focus on privacy and security for high-risk communities. In total, the project has engaged with over 430 at-risk end users, developed 84 user personas, and collected over 180 individual pieces of user feedback.

Any tool, no matter how secure, leaves users vulnerable if it is too difficult to use. Many of the most popular and most critical open source security and privacy tools are maintained and updated by small tool teams with limited exposure to the specific profiles and needs of at-risk users. Though tools exist to mitigate security challenges in difficult contexts, usability and accessibility roadblocks oftentimes prevent users from easily adopting them.

Security trainer communities around the globe are uniquely positioned to bridge high-risk civil society groups and tool developers. Trainers have extensive knowledge surrounding the threats faced by their communities, the risks they take, and the challenges they have with specific tools. USABLE upskills and supports trainers so they are able to accurately capture, prioritize, and share usability and accessibility challenges and recommendations with tool developers.

By conveying the needs and concerns of at-risk individuals and organizations around the world to open source tool developers, the USABLE project allows vulnerable communities to have a voice in the development process of the tools they rely on. With more localized and usable tools, these individuals and organizations will be better equipped to respond to the digital threats they face. The USABLE project aims to change the ecosystem of open source privacy and security tools being used by at-risk communities by ingraining human centered design approaches into development processes and providing support to tool teams.

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