VIP: A visual approach to user authentication

Antonella De Angeli, Mike Coutts, Lynne Coventry, Graham I. Johnson, David Cameron, Martin H. Fischer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


This paper addresses knowledge-based authentication systems in self-service technology, presenting the design and evaluation of the Visual Identification Protocol (VIP). The basic idea behind it is to use pictures instead of numbers as a means for user authentication. Three different authentication systems based on images and visual memory were designed and compared with the traditional Personal Identification Number (PIN) approach in a longitudinal study involving 61 users. The experiment addressed performance criteria and subjective evaluation. The study and associated design exploration revealed important knowledge about users, their attitudes towards and behaviour with novel authentication approaches using images. VIP was found to provide a promising and easy-to-use alternative to the PIN. The visual code is easier to remember, preferred by users and potentially more secure than the numeric code. Results also provided guidelines to help designers make the best use of the natural power of visual memory in security solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces
Subtitle of host publicationAVI 2002
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781581135374
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes
EventWorking Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces, AVI 2002 - Trento, Italy
Duration: 22 May 200224 May 2002

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Workshop on Advanced Visual Interfaces AVI


ConferenceWorking Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces, AVI 2002


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