Jun 25 2017

First Generation Web Certificate Mental Model Builder

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After several prototypes, the first generation interface was a “pipeline” visualization; see Figure 1. The numbers in this figure correspond to the following sections:

  1. Houses the textual descriptions of the security aspects
  2. The network box: shows if not encrypted or encrypted
  3. Describes what the level of encryption means
  4. Displays identity information: Not validated or validated
  5. Displays identity information
  6. Encryption/identity summary
  7. Displays information when elements are hovered over



A facilitator and two HCI experts inspected the learnability and efficacy of the program. While not necessarily visually appealing, we found that the interface could develop mental models and would help users obtain a better understanding of browser certificates. In particular, it encouraged users to explore a variety of situations, see how a web browser would show indicators, and get explanations of their
meanings. We emphasized the two issues at stake, being encrypted communication, and verified identity.