You learned at our launch that we’re setting out to improve the experience users have with secure-communication tools. We told you that we want to work with the open source community, and that we’re committed to documenting our activities transparently. But what does this mean in practice – how will Ame, Trouble, and I be spending our days?

It’s much easier to show than to tell, so I expect you’ll get a better feel for our work as we describe it here over time. For the moment, though, you can expect it to fall into three major buckets:

  • Direct collaboration: We partner with open-source software-development teams to support them in researching and improving the usability of their tools. We’re focusing at first on secure-communication tools that have an established user base, but also collaborate with teams building related or emerging tools. I’ll tell you more in future posts about what we look for in a partner, and also introduce the projects we’ve already started working with. If you have a tool that you’d like a hand with, get in touch!

  • Information sharing: We take our collaborative research and use it to build public resources that help everyone – developers, designers, researchers, users, and the community at large – better understand great user experiences and how to achieve them. We also work to raise the profile of high-quality usable-security designs and projects, both those that we participate in directly and those conducted by other organizations. We share this information freely here, and through our newsletter, Twitter stream, and conference talks. Stay tuned in the near term for a reading list that will help you get started thinking about usable security – and let us know about your favorite books and papers that you want to see included.

  • Mentorship and capacity building: We work to support usable-security practitioners of all stripes, including developers, designers, and researchers. We encourage promising junior practitioners and students in their efforts to learn, and to participate in designing trustworthy experiences. As part of this, we are partnering with the Open Technology Fund on the Secure Usability Fellowship program.

In addition to these formal activities, we also aspire to act as a hub for usable-security practitioners, and among the development, design, research, and user communities. Although we don’t provide funding for projects, we make it a point to know about different practitioners and activities in the space, and offer referrals when asked. So, although we’re still catching up on our backlog of email inquiries, we’re always interested in hearing from you if you’re doing work in this space. And, as always, we hope you’ll stay tuned to keep up with our activities!