Security usability and accessibility

Recently security and accessibility issues have become an important topic to me. Although I had always considered accessibility and more specifically usability important in my designs, since I’m now down to one active hand two to a surgery on the other hand, I am now much more sensitive to the issue of accessibility. Call a subjective I suppose, but digress.

Two weeks ago was speaking to a product manager for a product that most of us use each and every day , and the issue of usability and accessibility came up. We were discussing how usability affects the success or failure of products in general. Something as important a security itself should have a large focus on usability and accessibility.

Lately for me, I’ve been doing a lot of research in the area of accessibility of tools and I’m happy to say actually that Microsoft has done a very good job with their speech recognition system built into windows 7. After spending just a few minutes training it, I plugged in my headset on off I went! I would say the speech recognition system has worked at about a 97% effective rate. Although right now I am using it mainly for dictation, to save on my typing efforts, obviously there are a lot of other functions like switching between windows, launching browsers, etc. At this point I’m using it just to save my good hand from too much work.

On the mobile front I found a solution which works on the blackberry (of which I am a very heavy user of). It performs the same function as the speech recognition system in windows 7; essentially translates your voice phrases and commands into blackberry lingo and executes them on the platform. Again in this case I’m using it primarily to save my good hand from too much work. I wonder if people are utilizing the platform for true medical conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or other issues. I would suspect that systems like this allow them to utilize technology in a much easier and more effective fashion.

So what does Acunetix have to do with usability and accessibility, specifically with windows or blackberry? Not much specifically to the platforms. However, I’ve realized that as a founding missions statement, Acunetix is providing very specific detailed security information in accessible and usable formats. We’ve always prided ourselves on our simple to use, and easy to understand reports – specifically the high, medium, low priority issues that come out of our reports by default. We’ve always heard comments from customers about the reports. Specifically they appreciated the delineation between issues which helps obviously managers and webmasters to understand where the priority issues are, and which to address right away. More importantly, from my perspective – putting the vulnerabilities into this criterion of issues, does a lot more for the business than the customers are actually telling us.

In this case we are actually helping you to prioritize your expenditures, manage resources, a truly focus on what’s important.  We are able to give the site owner a holistic and whole site overview of their enterprise from a security perspective -perhaps in this case making it more accessible, but definitely more usable.

So, not to detract from any other true research or breakthroughs on the accessibility and usability front, we feel that we have done our own little part in the security side to provide this information to business owners in the format and fashion that one can understand and appreciate – and more importantly action!

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