Inclusive design is also future-proofing technology for everyone. Swan noted that many more developers and designers are considering accessibility issues as they age and encounter poor eyesight or other impairments.
I’ve been wondering about this for quite a while: surely demanding specific patterns in a password (e.g. can’t be all lowercase, must include at least one number, etc.) makes it easier to crack them, right? I mean, you’re basically providing a ruleset for brute-forcing.
Turns out, yes. That’s exactly right.
When employees are faced with this requirement, they tend to:
- Choose a dictionary word or a name
- Make the first character uppercase
- Add a number at the end, and/or an exclamation point
If we know that is a common pattern, then we know where to start…
The answers to these questions about forms are useful for just about any website:
- Is It OK To Place A Form In Two Columns?
- Where Should Labels Be Placed?
- Can We Use Placeholder Text Instead Of A Label?
- How To Lessen The Cognitive Load Of A Form?
- Are Buttons Considered Part Of A Form’s UX?
- Is It Possible To Ease The Process Of Filling A Form?
- Does The User’s Location Influence A Form’s UX?
And here’s another reason why password rules are bullshit: you’re basically giving a list of instructions to hackers—the password rules help them narrow down the strings they need to brute force.
Ever been on one of those websites that doesn’t allow you to paste into the password field? Frustrating, isn’t it? (Especially if you use a password manager.)
It turns out that nobody knows how this ever started. It’s like a cargo cult without any cargo.
This is a wonderful service! Handcrafted artisanal passwords made with a tried and trusted technique:
You roll a die 5 times and write down each number. Then you look up the resulting five-digit number in the Diceware dictionary, which contains a numbered list of short words.
That’s the description from the site’s creator, Mira:
Please keep in mind when ordering that I am a full-time sixth grade student with a lot of homework.
She’s the daughter of Julia Angwin, author of Dragnet Nation.
A great investigation into the usability benefits of allowing users to fill in their passwords in plain text.
Major caveat: make sure you still offer the ability to mask passwords too.
Luke continues to tilt against the windmills of the security theatre inertia that still has us hiding passwords by default. As ever, he’s got the data to back up his findings.
A fascinating look at how the humble password gets imbued with incredible levels of meaning.
It reminds me of something I heard Ze Frank say last year: “People fill up the cracks with intimacy.”
A description of the shockingly cavalier attitude that Chrome takes with saved passwords:
Today, go up to somebody non-technical. Ask to borrow their computer. Visit chrome://settings/passwords and click “show” on a few of the rows. See what they have to say.
I concur completely with Luke’s assessment here. Most password-masking on the web is just security theatre. Displaying password inputs by default (but with an option to hide) should be the norm.
I like this passwordless log in pattern but only for specific use cases: when you know that the user has access to email, and when you don’t expect repeat “snacking” visits throughout the day.
Andy sounds a cautionary note: the password anti-pattern may be dying, but OAuth permission-granting shouldn’t be blasé. This is why granular permissions are so important.
Dana has put together an excellent grab-bag of data on people’s password habits.
A fascinating explanation of why Instapaper is migrating away from its passwordless sign-up.
A quick way of leaving Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and MySpace. It uses the password anti-pattern but after using this, I guess you won't be needing that password again.
Another interesting take on assigning a visual clue to password fields.
Here's an interesting idea: generating a sparkline when you input a password ...familiarity with the generated sparkline acts as a visual aid to the user.
And this, boys and girls, is why the password anti-pattern is bad, m'kay?
A PMOG mission where players learn about the password anti-pattern.