Design and Evaluation of Inclusive Email Security Indicators for People with Visual Impairments

Yaman Yu, Saidivya Ashok, Smirity Kaushik, Yang Wang, Gang Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Due to the challenges to detect and filter phishing emails, it is inevitable that some phishing emails can still reach a user's inbox. As a result, email providers such as Gmail have implemented phishing warnings to help users to better recognize phishing attempts. Existing research has primarily focused on phishing warnings for sighted users and yet it is not well understood how people with visual impairments interact with phishing emails and warnings. In this paper, we worked with a group of users (N=41) with visual impairments to study the effectiveness of existing warnings and explore more inclusive designs (using Gmail warning designs as a baseline for comparison). We took a multipronged approach including an exploratory study (to understand the challenges faced by users), user-in-the-loop design and prototyping, and the main study (to assess the impact of design choices). Our results show that users with visual impairments often miss existing Gmail warnings because the current design (e.g., warning position, HTML tags used) does not match well with screen reader users' reading habits. The inconsistencies of the warnings (e.g., across the Standard and HTML view) also create obstacles to users. We show that an inclusive design (combining audio warning, shortcut key, and warning page overlay) can effectively increase the warning noticeability. Based on our results, we make a number of recommendations to email providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 44th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2023
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781665493369
StatePublished - 2023
Event44th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2023 - Hybrid, San Francisco, United States
Duration: May 22 2023May 25 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy
ISSN (Print)1081-6011


Conference44th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityHybrid, San Francisco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'Design and Evaluation of Inclusive Email Security Indicators for People with Visual Impairments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this