Pretty Good Graphics

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Pretty Good Graphics
Presenter(s) Soraya Okuda
Title(s) Designer
Organization(s) Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
Country(ies) USA
Social media
2017 theme Communications & Design

Illustrating the visual challenge of 1) explaining end-to-end encryption and 2) increasing adoption among beginner users who do not identify themselves as technically savvy. Showing past work in visually communicating these concepts, and discussing where visual metaphors have been appropriate or failed. Opening the discussion to the audience.

Format Conversation
Target Groups Designers, Writers, Software Engineers
Length 1
Skill Level Introductory
Language English

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Pretty Good Graphics Session Notes

Speaker: Soraya Okuda, Designer, EFF

EFF— Organization that operates as a law firm, activist network, and software development

Specifically, today is focused on brainstorming digital security education for EFF’s SSD — teaching materials, resources for trainers, and possible curriculum. (Be in contact with Soraya if you want to see something graphically explained in a digisec curriculum!)

Session components: Focus — Simplifying technical ideas using analogies How — Design problem visualizing e2e encryption for beginners By what means — We are going to listen to a discussion by Soyara, then draw, or draw upon, new metaphors to explain e2e

Discussion in twos: When was the last time you struggled to explain something to someone about digital security?

The group went on to look at an EFF graphic explaining 3 encryption scenarios: 1. No encryption; 2. Transport encryption; 3. E2e encryption. We broke out into smaller groups to explain what visually works well and what doesn’t.

The group went on to discuss the positives and negatives of a Teen Vogue explanation of encryption, and then shared our findings as a group.

Findings: There were mixed reviews on the secret handshake metaphor. Appreciation that it explained that apps w/o encryption have access to your content in plain text. Appreciated that there was a use of human language, not technical language. Conclusion: “Analogies will never be perfect.”

Soraya then gave an example of a visualization of encryption she has in the works, explaining the strengths and weaknesses she has already identified as a way to inspire the breakout sessions we will be participating in later.

Act 1: Rather than thinking about all the issues with PGP, what is important to establish to beginners is the “need to know” aspects of public key encryption.

Act 2: Moving on to breakout sessions, each group selects a concept of e2e encryption in order to establish those “need to know” facts, and then groups go on the visually represent those concepts.

Group metaphors for e2e encryption: -Using a chemical reaction to relay that encryption is a process of mixing and distilling; “Encryption is all about chemistry”; The difficulty is separating it, not unlocking; we can envision acids and bases as a way to hide things, and then reconstitute or distinguish components -Using a parrot speaking as a metaphor for key validation -Using a padlock as a metaphor: both physically or visually -Man in the middle attack as a vulnerable game of string and can telephone

In conclusion: If you teach digital security or want some visualizations for digital security developed, talk to Soraya!