Password reset

Security Blanket by Lorrie Faith Cranor

The whole password reset thing needs to be standardized. The user experiences for resetting a password on any given digital property (website, app, etc.) are only generally OK – if that.

My guess is that by now (late April of 2018) people spend more time than anyone every would have anticipated managing passwords.

There have been academic studies, business surveys and cost estimators to try and get a little more data about this since Web 1.0. Beyond making us all a little _____, this password stuff actually costs money when you look at it from various points of view.

That includes thinking of them, remembering them, resetting them, retrieving them and especially worrying about them. Ever left a scrap of paper with a password written on it or called a help desk to reset a password? Me neither.

We have the means, we just have to agree that we’re going to do it. Who? We. The collective “We” really do have power. Think about how you want to access your data. It’s yours, after all.

As much of a PITA* as this password resetting situation is now, it’s not going to become simpler unless the consumer – me, you, we – start demanding it instead of writing bitchy blog posts like this one.

*PITA: Pain In The Ass

Trust Me

The empathy stuff I rambled about is a big part of creating a successful connection between humans. It builds trust. Without trust there isn’t much left.

The same is true for technology. After all, humans built the stuff so if a digital presence suddenly reveals itself to be untrustworthy, it gets shaky pretty fast. Just take a look at Facebook’s stock price as the news of their practices rolls out.

Is the old marketing adage “trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair”, still true?

As a UX (user experience) person, I’ve worked with people to create good experiences in the both the digital and analog worlds since dial up. I’ve become acutely aware of something that appears common: humans are more apt to be trusting when they have a positive feeling about their interactions with a thing – be it a pencil a touchscreen or an online form.

No one wants a lousy experience (at least not consciously). There’s a ton of evidence that shows everyone loses when there are elements of a bad user experience in play. Most often, users blame themselves and no one notices. The person (user) feels stupid or inept but they accomplish the task – writing with the pencil or checking in for a flight with a touch screen or submitting a payment using an online form.

If UX processes are in place as a strategic underpinning, these elements and all their glorious detail will be considered and the whole will be more than the sum of its parts. The user may not thank you but your business and your digital presence will. Trust is something that’s built intentionally, guarded and nurtured, just like good user experiences.