FOSS Backstage Design

Stewarding Usability for Humanitarian Open Source Software
03-06, 14:25–14:45 (Europe/Berlin), Main Hall

The usability of a tool is critical security infrastructure, especially for software that enables humanitarian and human rights work. This talk will explain the relationship between usability, design, and security and explore implementing usability metrics and testing within these OSS projects.

Humanitarian and human rights work around the world relies on digital tools to document harms, organize crisis response, and disseminate information – often with Open Source Software as its foundation. The usability and design of such tools, however, is rarely foregrounded, and is especially under-acknowledged as key aspects of the software’s security infrastructure. This session will explore how to develop sustainable usability metrics and user engagement practices that help enhance security, highlighting a case study of our work with Bayanat, the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre’s Open Source tool for documentation of human rights abuses and war crimes. The usability of Bayanat is critical for a number of reasons, but most importantly because users are handling highly sensitive data that needs to be safeguarded, and users need to understand the security choices they make to ensure that their data is truly safe. This talk will walk the audience through
A) why usability is a critical security feature,
B) how to develop usability metrics with restricted time and resources, and
C) how to implement usability testing and user engagement for humanitarian tools.

See also: Slides (1.3 MB)