This is an ever-green link-dump post of great resources we come across for bridging the gap between usability, security, and at-risk users.

Community + Resources



Design Patterns






  • How Designing For Disabled People Is Giving Google An Edge This is a great post on how Google products are becoming more usable for all users due to accessibility improvements, from improved machine learning and notifications to simply being able to read a screen in full sun because it is following good accessibility guidelines for contrast.

User Personas and Use-Cases

  • User Personas for Privacy and Security Gus Andrews’ work (originally with OpenITP’s Secure User Practices project) on building user personas which are represent the actual use cases and environments where digital security is critical is required reading

  • A story about Jessica. You may follow @SwiftOnSecurity for the flippant information-security jokes and relentless trolling of Linux users, but “A Story About Jessica” is a pretty damning indictment of the current state of computer security for actual people, and the actual barriers they face.

  • Real World Use Case for High-Risk Users More use cases and personas from Eleanor Saitta, starting with digital security tools and looking at the use cases which surround them. If you’re thinking that we’re including a lot of use-case discussion in this list, it’s because it’s important. To quota Ella, “Having empathy with people unlike one’s self is hard — especially when trying to understand the world enough from their perspective that the design choices you make will serve them well. Nowhere is this more true or higher stakes than the design of security systems.”

  • Understanding Internet Freedom SecondMuses’ “Understanding Internet Freedom” series contains really in-depth studies of specific at-risk communities and the challenges they face with digital security.

Courses: Learning, Facilitating, Exercises

  • Usable Security by University of Maryland, College Park “This course focuses on how to design and build secure systems with a human-centric focus. We will look at basic principles of human-computer interaction, and apply these insights to the design of secure systems with the goal of developing security measures that respect human performance and their goals within a system.”

  • Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design by “The Course for Human-Centered Design is a seven-week curriculum that will introduce you to the concepts of human-centered design and how this approach can be used to create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions for social change. This course has been created to reach those who are brand new to human-centered design, so no prior experience required (though we of course welcome previous students to continue honing your human-centered design skills!)”