Usability: When icons fail

A common design pattern that is being used extensively on mobile apps has been the use of icons to illustrate specific functions. By now, there are specific icons that almost everyone is familiar with. An icon of a trash can represents deleting something or a printer represents the print function. But what happens when icons are used that users are unfamiliar with? I’ve been using the Gmail app on my iPad and it helps illustrate a great example. There were quite a few icons that I was completely unfamiliar with, and as a result, I had never used them.

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A look at how popular websites update your email address

Recently I had to update my email on websites that I regularly use. As I began the process, I quickly discovered how insecure some them were. On websites such as Bank of America, Citi and Foursquare, it was frighteningly simple to change my email address with very little security or confirmation.  While others such as Ebay, Facebook and Twitter had some of the best security combining confirmation links sent to the new email address, unique security codes and a confirmation box to re-enter your password even though you are logged in.

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