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Why design is important to security

October 7th, 2020

Security is usually invisible. More often than not, we just protect you automatically and you don’t need to lift a finger. But sometimes, we’ll notify you and suggest that you take action to better secure your information, like check your Account activity after we block a suspicious attempt to sign in. Whether the issue is critical or less serious, getting these notifications right—making sure they’re written clearly and presented in a simple and useful way—is really important. These alerts shouldn’t just keep you safe, but help you feel safe too.

Over the years, we’ve made changes to our notifications that have had a big impact on people’s security. In 2015 for example, we started using Android alerts to notify people about critical issues with their Google Accounts, like a suspected hack. Compared to email, we saw a 20-fold increase in the number of people that engaged with these new notifications within an hour of receiving them.

Today we announced a new type of critical alert that will display within the Google app you’re using. So we thought it was a good time to dive a bit deeper into the thinking behind how we develop useful security notices. In this video, Jonathan Skelker, a product manager who specializes in alerts and notifications, and Niti Arora, a UX designer for Google security, discuss how we think about communicating with users in our products to help them feel safe.

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Why design is important to security

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Why design is important to security

Googlers and academics share their thoughts about our approach to security and how product design, threats to high-risk users, research partnerships, and medieval history (yup!) contribute to the ways we protect people online.

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