Smart homes are under attack. Threats can harm both the security of these homes and the privacy of their inhabitants. As a result, in addition to delivering pleasing and aesthetic experiences, smart devices need to protect households from vulnerabilities and attacks. Further, the need for user-centered security and privacy design is particularly important for such an environment, given that inhabitants are demographically-diverse (eg, age, gender, educational level) and have different skills and (dis)abilities.
Prior work has explored different usable security and privacy solutions for smart homes; however, the applicability of `user experience (UX)' principles to security and privacy design is under-explored. My DPhil research project aims to address the on-going challenge of security and privacy in the smart home through the lens of UX design. The objective of this thesis is two-fold. Firstly, to investigate how UX factors and principles affect smart home users and the product design process. Secondly, to inform product design through the development of an empirically-tested data-driven framework for UX design of security and privacy in smart home products.
In the first step, my research aims to explore the relationship between UX, security, and privacy in smart homes from user and designer perspectives: through (i) conducting a qualitative interview study with smart home users (n=20) and (ii) analyzing data from a longitudinal study of smart home device adoption and use in households (n=6); and, I plan to explore the role of UX in the design of security and privacy in smart homes through qualitative semi-structured interviews with smart home designers through two rounds of interviews (n=20, n=20).
In the second step, using the research's exploratory results, my research aims to build an empirically-tested data-driven descriptive framework for UX design of security and privacy in the smart home products. To evaluate the applicability of our framework, participatory design workshops will be run with a diverse group of smart home stakeholders. Finally, using the framework, thematic recommendations will be extracted to supporting security and privacy design practice in smart home products.
By bringing UX design to the smart home security and privacy table, I believe that my thesis project will have a significant impact on academia, industry, and government organizations. The framework will inform the product design process of security and privacy in this emerging technological area while contributing to scholarly practice.
Publications (as of 18 June 2020):
George Chalhoub, Ivan Flechais‚ Norbert Nthala, and Ruba Abu−Salma. Innovation Inaction or In Action? The Role of User Experience in the Security and Privacy Design of Smart Home Cameras. In Sixteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2020). USENIX. August, 2020.
George Chalhoub and Ivan Flechais. "Alexa‚ are you spying on me?": Exploring the Effect of User Experience on the Security and Privacy of Smart Speaker Users. In 22nd International Conference on Human−Computer Interaction (HCII 2020). Springer. May, 2020.
George Chalhoub‚ Ivan Flechais‚ Norbert Nthala‚ Ruba Abu−Salma and Elie Tom. Factoring User Experience into the Security and Privacy Design of Smart Home Devices: A Case Study. In Extended Abstracts of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA 2020). ACM. April, 2020.
George Chalhoub. The UX of Things: Exploring UX Principles to Inform Security and Privacy Design in the Smart Home. In Extended Abstracts of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA 2020). ACM. April, 2020.