Accessible and Usable Security: Exploring Visually Impaired Users’ Online Security and Privacy Strategies

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Napoli, Daniela




Visually impaired individuals are increasingly reliant on the Internet in their daily lives. Yet, existing security mechanisms may not sufficiently help these users protect their online security and privacy. We explore this issue through two complementary studies. First, we conduct an expert evaluation to assess web-based security cues through JAWS. We propose a set of 9 heuristics combining usable security and web accessibility principles to guide our expert evaluation. We uncover several severe issues that are not identified by automated accessibility checkers. Second, we conduct a task-based user study with 14 visually impaired users to observe their security habits and concerns when navigating the web. Again, our findings suggest that severe usability issues lead users to take risks or force them to choose between accessibility or security. Based on our findings, we provide practical recommendations to remedy these issues by tailoring security information to effectively communicate with visually impaired users.


Computer Science




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

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Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Human-Computer Interaction

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Theses and Dissertations

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