Last week for two days I was at the W3C workshop on usability and authentication. It was hosted at the top of a citibank building in Brooklyn. We had to present ID at the door to get upstairs.
The room was a very long rectangle room with three presentation screens and 2 giant columns. It is a terrible lay out. The first morning we heard 3 ppt presentations about ‘the problems’ of for usable security and authentication. Maybe people are 1/2 present doing e-mail and other things.
I really wanted to interactively (as in facilitated face to face discussion) create a map of the problem space. By the end of two days I sort of got it but I know we as a room could have come up with that in 1/2 a day and then sent the rest of the time really working on ideas for solutions.
There are a bunch of constituencies.
Browsers – Firefox, Opera and IE (Microsoft)
Big websites – AOL, Yahoo, Google.
Certificate Authorities – Verisign
They all want security of verifying websites to be more usable and understandable to normal folks. So there was usability experts.
I think I understand why ‘standards bodies’ and processes get bogged down. They are really not very innovative in their face to face technology – presentations for a two days do not create a positive energetic vortex and community to move forward on solving problems.
I am really tuned into this need to get better at our face to face process so our ideas and innovations for the online world can actually work.