Thursday, May 10, 2007

A friend indeed

A friend of mine, knowing what I do (and almost certainly trolling to get this blog post) sent me the following message
I have recently developed an interest in remote control planes. I joined an electric RC flying club and was invited to their Yahoo chat group. I had to register as a new user. I thought the idea of a ‘seal’ as an anti-phishing mechanism was quite clever. I had never heard of that before. Allowing the user to personalize their seal with a picture of their choice is also a good idea as it gives the user the feeling that they have some control in the whole matter. Overall, a very good experience.

With typical insight, I replied
yeah, but see

His hurried response

Different I would say. A picture of Son 1 and Son 2 showing up every time I log into Yahoo is much more effective than a bogus error message. What you are describing sounds like a pain in the butt.

My closing argument

the issue is whether users can be conditioned to expect a certain 'login ceremony' to a sufficient point where, should a subsequent experience be different than that to which they've been trained, they will be alerted.

users are amazingly accommodating to the vagaries of the internet, they've been trained to expect to see hiccups and glitches.

If you were to go to a site that purported to be Yahoo and that showed a blank square instead of the boys pics, and had a message of 'Yahoo apologizes for the technical difficulties, please proceed as normal'. you would probably go 'Hey whoa there'. Most users wouldn't

Notwithstanding what I told him, my friend would of course click away unsuspectingly. It's the same gullibility that makes him so vulnerable to my moves on the ice.

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