Security - Visible, yet unseen? How displaying security mechanisms impacts user experience and perceived security

Verena Distler, Marie Laure Zollinger, Carine Lallemand, Peter B. Roenne, Peter Y.A. Ryan, Vincent Koenig

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


An unsolved debate in the field of usable security concerns whether security mechanisms should be visible, or black-boxed away from the user for the sake of usability. However, tying this question to pragmatic usability factors only might be simplistic. This study aims at researching the impact of displaying security mechanisms on User Experience (UX) in the context of e-voting. Two versions of an e-voting application were designed and tested using a between-group experimental protocol (N=38). Version D displayed security mechanisms, while version ND did not reveal any security-related information. We collected data on UX using stan-dardised evaluation scales and semi-structured interviews. Version D performed better overall in terms of UX and need fulfilment. Qualitative analysis of the interviews gives further insights into factors impacting perceived security. Our study adds to existing research suggesting a conceptual shift from usability to UX and discusses implications for designing and evaluating secure systems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450359702
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019
Event2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019: ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Scottish Event Campus, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 May 20199 May 2019


Conference2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019
Abbreviated titleCHI EA 19
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Usable Security
  • User Experience
  • e-voting
  • security mechanisms
  • empirical study
  • Usable security
  • Empirical study
  • E-voting
  • User experience
  • Security mechanisms

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