Pairing devices for social interactions: a comparative usability evaluation


Uzun, E.; Saxena, N.; Kumar, A. Pairing devices for social interactions: a comparative usability evaluation. ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI); 2011 May 7-12; Vancouver, BC, Canada.


When users wish to establish wireless radio communication between/among their devices, the channel has to be bootstrapped first. The process of setting up a secure communication channel between two previously unassociated devices is referred to as Secure Device Pairing. The focus of prior research on this topic has mostly been limited to personal pairing scenarios, whereby a single user controls both the devices. In this paper, we instead consider social pairing scenarios, whereby two different users establish pairing between their respective devices. We present a comprehensive study to identify methods suitable for social pairing, and comparatively evaluate the usability and security of these methods. Our results identify methods best-suited for users, in terms of efficiency, error-tolerance and of course, usability. Our work provides insights on the applicability and usability of methods for emerging social pairing scenarios, a topic largely ignored so far.

Read more from SRI