Evaluating the End-User Experience of Private Browsing Mode

Ruba Abu-Salma, Benjamin Livshits
2020 Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems  
In this paper, we investigate why users of private browsing mode misunderstand the benefits and limitations of private browsing. We design and conduct a three-part study: (1) an analytic evaluation of the user interface of private mode in different browsers; (2) a qualitative user study to explore user mental models of private browsing; (3) a participatory design study to investigate why existing browser disclosures, the inbrowser explanations of private mode, do not communicate the actual
more » ... ction of private mode. We find the user interface of private mode in different browsers violated well-established design guidelines and heuristics. Further, most participants had incorrect mental models of private browsing, influencing their understanding and usage of private mode. We also find existing browser disclosures did not explain the primary security goal of private mode. Drawing from the results of our study, we extract a set of recommendations to improve the design of disclosures.
doi:10.1145/3313831.3376440 dblp:conf/chi/Abu-SalmaL20 fatcat:3tljxbhgtzat5k265ub2l4mlaa