CUA of the Month – March, 2013

Sergey Sinyakov
"Whether you do anything with CUA training or not, you get a healthy understanding of what usability is and how it affects the whole product design cycle."
 
Sergey Sinyakov
Senior UI/UX Architect
CSID

Enter Usability in Stopping Identity Theft

by Jim Garrett

A topic that is coming more to the forefront these days is identity theft and cyber attack. Whether is it attacks on companies for their product and customer information or attacks on individuals for their personal information, it is happening and it’s happening big time.

One such company, CSID, is in the business to protect companies and individuals from these breeches. With CSID’s enterprise-level solutions, businesses can take a proactive approach to protecting the identities of their consumers all around the world.

For these tools to be effective, they must be efficient and effective for the user. This is where our Certified Usability Analyst of the month Sergey Sinyakov enters the picture.

Sergey is Senior UI/UX Architect at CSID.

Your company, CSID, deals with identity theft protection that has become so prevalent in the news lately.

This has been a problem across industries but our company was one of the first ones that started doing something about it. I think it is going to get only bigger from now on because information is really a commodity now. There’s no real way of avoiding going online or using the web-based applications, so more and more information is going to become at risk. You have to share information that you wouldn’t do otherwise and you don’t have full control over how it’s stored or protected.

What is the risk of sharing information?

When you go online and they ask you to share information, you don’t know how it is protected. You don’t know if the merchant, or whoever is accepting your information, whether they have the skills to protect your information. There’s a big market out there, a black market that is growing rapidly that deals with personal information--anything from identity information to financial information. That threat is growing rapidly as more people go online and certainly the thieves are out there. Twitter was just compromised a couple of days ago.

So you build products for companies to help protect their clients, their customers from identity theft?

Pretty much. We analyze and store a lot of data and we also build applications that allow people to monitor their information online.

Can you give me an example?

One company we work with basically guarantees that they’ll protect your identity, that nobody will be able to open credit cards or bank accounts in your name. Most of the tools and the information that they’re actually selling is maintained and developed by our team. Although our company is in the background, we interact with the subscribers pretty much directly. Not only do we provide services that the companies resell, but also the applications that we build are the ones that customers use, whether it’s under our partners’ or our company name. We actually build the interface and connect it with the applications themselves so the information that we store is sort of powering the tools that users get access too.

Does CSID deal with cyber attacks?

We have developed the products as well that have to do with the cyber breaches. When a company gets compromised and they lose their user base and confidential information, they often partner with us and offer to the users services that are developed by us in order for them to keep an eye to see if their information will pop up anywhere.

We built special tools where users create a profile and enter certain information that they want to keep track of. For example, their email, phone number, bank account, credit card and we have systems that continuously crawl the web to check online everywhere for the usage of such information. If we come across, for example the social security number, we run it against the database of our users and if we find a match we alert the user that their information was used in such and such a place and what steps they need to take to prevent identity theft.

Wow! That’s very interesting. Where does usability enter into this?

We basically build tools on both sides. One side allows the companies to customize the applications and maintain and update information and whatever the settings that they have. On the other side, the user side is where subscribers actually log in and review their profile to update their information and keep track of it.

In addition to monitoring, there are different tools that will actually allow you to stay more protected and track a lot of other information for you. This can be perhaps registered sex offenders in your area, or if somebody changes your home address. This is one of the common ways where identity theft takes place. Thieves go to the post office and change the delivery address from the real owner to the perpetrator. With this tool you will get instant alerts so you will know what’s going on with your information.

What do you think was the most significant thing you learned in the HFI CUA training?

I had a smooth transition into it. I had a small business in the past that had to do with market research. A lot of information that I took from CUA training had tons to do with surveying users, analyzing the data and putting it to use. In that sense I actually was able to complement whatever I already knew with what I was learning. What was really key was making the leap between the book knowledge and the actual practical application of that knowledge. The classes gave me that confidence.

What is the flow of your usability work?

I’m part of the engineering group but we do have a product design team that consists of product management and designers. I’m sort of the connection between the engineering and the product team. When we review the product and when we come across usability issues, I’m the one that usually works with the team to address those issues and propose the solutions. A lot of it is on the higher-level of product design which is great because it’s much better than correcting all those issues in product redesign, which we inevitably have to deal with as well. We build amazing applications, with a great level of complexity. Sometimes customers may get overwhelmed with it or may not see all the capabilities at first. Being able to think from the end-user point of view is what allows me to see the areas that may need improvement.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of taking the CUA training?

I personally encourage everybody to take it. I even recommended it to a couple of people in the company, because whether you do anything with it or not, you get a pretty healthy understanding of what usability is and how it affects the whole product design cycle. Quite often a lot of product design is being done by project managers, marketing, and even engineers. All those people are looking at different aspects of it. Marketing looks at something that they can sell, engineers love features and designers sometimes get carried away with the consistency of the elements, even when it makes no sense whatsoever. Making sense out of it and getting in the mind of the end user, that’s a big mental shift. The HFI CUA training will give you that.

CUA of the Month

Each month we highlight the successes and achievements of a different member of our CUA community. If you are a Certified Usability Analyst and would like to be considered for CUA of the Month recognition, please send a brief professional bio to hfi@humanfactors.com

Privacy policy

Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

This Privacy Policy governs the manner in which Human Factors International, Inc., an Iowa corporation (“HFI”) collects, uses, maintains and discloses information collected from users (each, a “User”) of its humanfactors.com website and any derivative or affiliated websites on which this Privacy Policy is posted (collectively, the “Website”). HFI reserves the right, at its discretion, to change, modify, add or remove portions of this Privacy Policy at any time by posting such changes to this page. You understand that you have the affirmative obligation to check this Privacy Policy periodically for changes, and you hereby agree to periodically review this Privacy Policy for such changes. The continued use of the Website following the posting of changes to this Privacy Policy constitutes an acceptance of those changes.

Cookies

HFI may use “cookies” or “web beacons” to track how Users use the Website. A cookie is a piece of software that a web server can store on Users’ PCs and use to identify Users should they visit the Website again. Users may adjust their web browser software if they do not wish to accept cookies. To withdraw your consent after accepting a cookie, delete the cookie from your computer.

Privacy

HFI believes that every User should know how it utilizes the information collected from Users. The Website is not directed at children under 13 years of age, and HFI does not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13 years of age online. Please note that the Website may contain links to other websites. These linked sites may not be operated or controlled by HFI. HFI is not responsible for the privacy practices of these or any other websites, and you access these websites entirely at your own risk. HFI recommends that you review the privacy practices of any other websites that you choose to visit.

HFI is based, and this website is hosted, in the United States of America. If User is from the European Union or other regions of the world with laws governing data collection and use that may differ from U.S. law and User is registering an account on the Website, visiting the Website, purchasing products or services from HFI or the Website, or otherwise using the Website, please note that any personally identifiable information that User provides to HFI will be transferred to the United States. Any such personally identifiable information provided will be processed and stored in the United States by HFI or a service provider acting on its behalf. By providing your personally identifiable information, User hereby specifically and expressly consents to such transfer and processing and the uses and disclosures set forth herein.

In the course of its business, HFI may perform expert reviews, usability testing, and other consulting work where personal privacy is a concern. HFI believes in the importance of protecting personal information, and may use measures to provide this protection, including, but not limited to, using consent forms for participants or “dummy” test data.

The Information HFI Collects

Users browsing the Website without registering an account or affirmatively providing personally identifiable information to HFI do so anonymously. Otherwise, HFI may collect personally identifiable information from Users in a variety of ways. Personally identifiable information may include, without limitation, (i)contact data (such as a User’s name, mailing and e-mail addresses, and phone number); (ii)demographic data (such as a User’s zip code, age and income); (iii) financial information collected to process purchases made from HFI via the Website or otherwise (such as credit card, debit card or other payment information); (iv) other information requested during the account registration process; and (v) other information requested by our service vendors in order to provide their services. If a User communicates with HFI by e-mail or otherwise, posts messages to any forums, completes online forms, surveys or entries or otherwise interacts with or uses the features on the Website, any information provided in such communications may be collected by HFI. HFI may also collect information about how Users use the Website, for example, by tracking the number of unique views received by the pages of the Website, or the domains and IP addresses from which Users originate. While not all of the information that HFI collects from Users is personally identifiable, it may be associated with personally identifiable information that Users provide HFI through the Website or otherwise. HFI may provide ways that the User can opt out of receiving certain information from HFI. If the User opts out of certain services, User information may still be collected for those services to which the User elects to subscribe. For those elected services, this Privacy Policy will apply.

How HFI Uses Information

HFI may use personally identifiable information collected through the Website for the specific purposes for which the information was collected, to process purchases and sales of products or services offered via the Website if any, to contact Users regarding products and services offered by HFI, its parent, subsidiary and other related companies in order to otherwise to enhance Users’ experience with HFI. HFI may also use information collected through the Website for research regarding the effectiveness of the Website and the business planning, marketing, advertising and sales efforts of HFI. HFI does not sell any User information under any circumstances.

Disclosure of Information

HFI may disclose personally identifiable information collected from Users to its parent, subsidiary and other related companies to use the information for the purposes outlined above, as necessary to provide the services offered by HFI and to provide the Website itself, and for the specific purposes for which the information was collected. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information at the request of law enforcement or governmental agencies or in response to subpoenas, court orders or other legal process, to establish, protect or exercise HFI’s legal or other rights or to defend against a legal claim or as otherwise required or allowed by law. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information in order to protect the rights, property or safety of a User or any other person. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information to investigate or prevent a violation by User of any contractual or other relationship with HFI or the perpetration of any illegal or harmful activity. HFI may also disclose aggregate, anonymous data based on information collected from Users to investors and potential partners. Finally, HFI may disclose or transfer personally identifiable information collected from Users in connection with or in contemplation of a sale of its assets or business or a merger, consolidation or other reorganization of its business.

Personal Information as Provided by User

If a User includes such User’s personally identifiable information as part of the User posting to the Website, such information may be made available to any parties using the Website. HFI does not edit or otherwise remove such information from User information before it is posted on the Website. If a User does not wish to have such User’s personally identifiable information made available in this manner, such User must remove any such information before posting. HFI is not liable for any damages caused or incurred due to personally identifiable information made available in the foregoing manners. For example, a User posts on an HFI-administered forum would be considered Personal Information as provided by User and subject to the terms of this section.

Security of Information

Information about Users that is maintained on HFI’s systems or those of its service providers is protected using industry standard security measures. However, no security measures are perfect or impenetrable, and HFI cannot guarantee that the information submitted to, maintained on or transmitted from its systems will be completely secure. HFI is not responsible for the circumvention of any privacy settings or security measures relating to the Website by any Users or third parties.

Correcting, Updating, Accessing or Removing Personal Information

If a User’s personally identifiable information changes, or if a User no longer desires to receive non-account specific information from HFI, HFI will endeavor to provide a way to correct, update and/or remove that User’s previously-provided personal data. This can be done by emailing a request to HFI at hfi@humanfactors.com. Additionally, you may request access to the personally identifiable information as collected by HFI by sending a request to HFI as set forth above. Please note that in certain circumstances, HFI may not be able to completely remove a User’s information from its systems. For example, HFI may retain a User’s personal information for legitimate business purposes, if it may be necessary to prevent fraud or future abuse, for account recovery purposes, if required by law or as retained in HFI’s data backup systems or cached or archived pages. All retained personally identifiable information will continue to be subject to the terms of the Privacy Policy to which the User has previously agreed.

Contacting HFI

If you have any questions or comments about this Privacy Policy, you may contact HFI via any of the following methods:
Human Factors International, Inc.
PO Box 2020
1680 highway 1, STE 3600
Fairfield IA 52556
hfi@humanfactors.com
(800) 242-4480

Terms and Conditions for Public Training Courses

Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

Cancellation of Course by HFI

HFI reserves the right to cancel any course up to 14 (fourteen) days prior to the first day of the course. Registrants will be promptly notified and will receive a full refund or be transferred to the equivalent class of their choice within a 12-month period. HFI is not responsible for travel expenses or any costs that may be incurred as a result of cancellations.

Cancellation of Course by Participants (All regions except India)

$100 processing fee if cancelling within two weeks of course start date.

Cancellation / Transfer by Participants (India)

4 Pack + Exam registration: Rs. 10,000 per participant processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the course (4 Pack-CUA/CXA) registration before three weeks from the course start date. No refund or carry forward of the course fees if cancelling or transferring the course registration within three weeks before the course start date.

Individual Modules: Rs. 3,000 per participant ‘per module’ processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the course (any Individual HFI course) registration before three weeks from the course start date. No refund or carry forward of the course fees if cancelling or transferring the course registration within three weeks before the course start date.

Exam: Rs. 3,000 per participant processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the pre agreed CUA/CXA exam date before three weeks from the examination date. No refund or carry forward of the exam fees if requesting/cancelling or transferring the CUA/CXA exam within three weeks before the examination date.

No Recording Permitted

There will be no audio or video recording allowed in class. Students who have any disability that might affect their performance in this class are encouraged to speak with the instructor at the beginning of the class.

Course Materials Copyright

The course and training materials and all other handouts provided by HFI during the course are published, copyrighted works proprietary and owned exclusively by HFI. The course participant does not acquire title nor ownership rights in any of these materials. Further the course participant agrees not to reproduce, modify, and/or convert to electronic format (i.e., softcopy) any of the materials received from or provided by HFI. The materials provided in the class are for the sole use of the class participant. HFI does not provide the materials in electronic format to the participants in public or onsite courses.