Looking beyond Prompts for Permissions in Chrome

Tuesday, September 12, 2023 - 11:00 am11:20 am

Serena Chen, Google


The modern web platform offers developers capabilities that are too risky to expose by default. We've collectively punted responsibility for that decision to users, relying almost entirely on prompt UIs. But as we scale the web with new capabilities, prompt UIs reveal their limitations. If we're to take the idea of user involvement seriously, we must make their control over the platform's feature set meaningful. We must balance information disclosure with ease of use, non-interruption with control, and consider both well-intentioned and malicious actors.

In this talk, we will walk through the challenges the Web platform faces and current limitations of permission prompts. We will share lessons learned from intervening on existing prompts to reduce annoyance, changing Chrome's permission prompts and how we've been working with browser engineers to design the capability with user intention in mind. Finally, we will share some novel UI patterns to nudge developers to provide more context for meaningful decisions.

Co-author: Marian Harbach, Google

Serena Chen, Google

Serena Chen is an Interaction Designer at Google Chrome. She is an ex-physicist/mathematician, one-time teen magazine editor, and hacker at heart. She spends her time at the intersection of usability and security and cares deeply about building technology for a kinder and more just world.

@conference {290861,
author = {Serena Chen},
title = {Looking beyond Prompts for Permissions in Chrome},
year = {2023},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = sep

Presentation Video