This is a great walkthough of making a common form pattern accessible. No complex code here: some HTML is all that’s needed.
Monday, March 23rd, 2020
Wednesday, January 16th, 2019
Exactly what it sounds like: a checklist of measures you can take to protect yourself.
Most of these require a certain level of tech-savviness, which is a real shame. On the other hand, some of them are entirely about awareness.
Tuesday, August 7th, 2018
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.
Tuesday, June 12th, 2018
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…
Thursday, March 29th, 2018
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?
Friday, March 10th, 2017
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.
Thursday, January 19th, 2017
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.
Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
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.
Monday, March 2nd, 2015
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.
Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
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.
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014
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.”
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013
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.
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
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.
Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
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.
Saturday, February 11th, 2012
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.
Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
Dana has put together an excellent grab-bag of data on people’s password habits.
Monday, December 20th, 2010
A fascinating explanation of why Instapaper is migrating away from its passwordless sign-up.
Sunday, November 21st, 2010
Two months ago, I called Twitter out on their insistence that developers use OAuth when authorising with Twitter while they themselves continued to use the password anti-pattern when they wanted to peek into third-party address books.
I’m happy to report that Twitter have since fixed this. If you go to the Find Friends portion of the “Who To Follow” section, you’ll now be greeted with links that lead to correct authentication with LinkedIn, Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail.
Meanwhile, Flickr recently launched their own “Who to Follow” functionality. There is nary a password request in sight: they’ve implemented correct authentication right out of the gate for Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and Facebook.
See? I’m not always bitching’n’moaning.
Thursday, September 9th, 2010
OAuthypocrisy and the Passwordpocalypse
The OAuthcalypse is upon us. Since August 31st, all third-party Twitter services must use OAuth to authenticate. This is a good thing; a very good thing. Before that date, services were allowed to use the password anti-pattern to log you in.
Twitter has put its foot down and declared that the password anti-pattern will no longer be tolerated. Hurrah!
What a shame then, that Twitter is being utterly hypocritical. On their Find Friends page, they encourage you to:
Scan your email address book or contacts to discover which of your friends are already using Twitter.
They do this using the password anti-pattern. You are asked for your Gmail password even though the Google Contacts API would allow Twitter to connect to Gmail using proper authentication …exactly what Twitter is insisting third-parties use when they want to access Twitter’s data.
Twitter does connect to LinkedIn correctly. That’s one out of four.
There are two solutions to this state of affairs. Either Twitter decides to do the right thing and switch over to using APIs and authentication for Gmail, Yahoo and AOL …or else Gmail, Yahoo and AOL follow Twitter’s example and disallow the password anti-pattern for scraping address books.
Twitter should not be encouraging Gmail users, Yahoo users and AOL users to divulge their passwords but at the same time, Gmail, Yahoo and AOL should be taking steps to ensure that such profligate behaviour is not rewarded.
Twitter has done the right thing with third-party services wishing to access its data. Now let’s see if the third-party services currently being abused by Twitter will follow this example.
Update: There are some very encouraging responses from Twitter. Ryan Sarver says:
And Josh Elman concurs:
Tuesday, December 29th, 2009
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.