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Biometrics and Usability


The National Biometric Challenge:

Focus for Research:
"Biometric Sensors that are easy to use."
"Biometric systems that have intuitive interfaces for the operators and end users."

NSTC, The Executive Office of the President of the United States, August 2006.

Usability: The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use." ISO 9241-11:1998

NEWS Upcoming
Introducing the Biometrics and Usability Website from NIST.

We have launched this website to provide the biometrics and
usability communities with one location to see the research
NIST is conducting on the usability of biometrics. With the
plans for integrating biometrics into many areas of government
and public life, the importance of usability research has
increased. We hope this site can broaden the awareness of
what usability research is and why it is critical to the success of  many biometric programs.

  • The affordance of biometric devices
  • Usability issues with Personal Identity Verification
  • Anthropometrics of alternate biometric collection device orientations
  • Usability of Symbols for Biometric Use

DOWNLOAD:  Usability & Biometrics Ensuring Successful Biometric Systems


Title Description
Symbols Representing Biometrics in Use  The development of a symbol to indicate that Biometrics are currently being collected is described.
Biometric Symbol Design for the Public: Case Studies in the United States and Four Asian Countries  This paper internationally evaluated a set a symbols intended for use in biometric systems to help users better understand biometric operations.
It's a Matter of Perspective How the technological side of biometrics can work together with the User side to create an entire system view.
User Centered Design: QCP, A Case Study The development of the User Interaction Requirements for the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team serves as a case study of the User Centered Design process
Assessing Face Overlay This study postulated that additional image quality improvement may be realized by using a face overlay guide for the camera operator to help align the camera. This report describes the laboratory-based, proof-of-concept study that assessed this feature of image capture and its effect.
NISTIR 7540, Assessing Face Acquisition  In this paper, we consider the usability components of the face image capture process that contribute to the relatively high ratio of unusable images collected by United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT).
Usability and Biometrics: Ensuring Successful Biometric Systems This handbook provides an overview of the user-centered design process and examples of how the process can be applied to the design and development of biometric technology systems.
The International Workshop on Usability and Biometrics, June 23-24, 2008 During this workshop the current issues of Biometric Usability were discussed and future research areas were identified.
NISTIR 7504, Usability Testing of Height and Angles of Ten-Print Fingerprint Capture The NIST Biometrics Usability group's study was specifically designed to answer the question: Given the current counter heights in US-VISIT facilities, what is the "best" angle to position the fingerprint scanner?
A Study of Users with Visual Disabilities and a Fingerprint Process  This report presents the results of a usability study that examined how persons with visual impairments interact with a fingerprint scanner
NIST Contribution to ISO/IEC JTC1 SC27 WG6 Icons, Symbols and Pictograms for use with Biometric Systems  The following document contains a set of symbols and pictograms to help the general public understand the concepts and procedures for using electronic systems that collect and/or evaluate fingerprints.
 This study examined the effect of the height of the sensor on the quality and the time required to collect fingerprints. User performance, both fingerprint quality and timing, was impacted by scanner height.
This study examines the effect of instructional modes on user performance. Posters were not as effective in providing instructions to users as video or verbal instructions.
 This presentation describes the DHS requested study of the effects of fingerprint scanner angle at various heights.
Usability of Biometrics, It Starts with the User! Biometric Consortium Conference 2007, September 11, 2007  This is the first track ever at the Biometrics Consortium Conference (2007) that is dedicated to the growing field of research into understanding the unique overlap between biometrics and usability.
Usability of Biometric Systems by Mary Theofanos at NIST This presentation reviews the human factors and usability components of biometric systems. A video of the presentation and the presentation slides are available. [no longer available on the web]
Usability Testing of Ten-Print Fingerprint Capture A ten-print capture process was examined n terms of time, differing instructional modes (poster, video, or verbal), and what types of and how many errors are made during the process.
Effects of Scanner Height on Fingerprint Capture  This report presents the results of a study that examined the effect of the height of the sensor on the quality and the time required to collect prints
A Taxonomy of Definitions for Usability Studies in Biometrics  This document describes a taxonomy of definitions for use in usability studies of biometrics.
Health and Safety Perceptions of Biometric Devices  What influences a user's health and safety concerns when they use biometric devices?
Human Factors and Usability Interaction of Fingerprint Quality  The development and testing of a set of usability guidelines for biometric systems that: enhance performance, improve user satisfaction/ acceptance, and provide consistency across biometric system user interfaces
Biometric Usability Studies Status report of current biometric usability program
Does Habituation Affect Fingerprint Quality?  Poster: Does habituation affect user's performance and the acquisition of quality prints? How does feedback affect habituation and image quality?
Does Habituation Affect Fingerprint Quality?  Article: Does habituation affect user's performance and the acquisition of quality prints? How does feedback affect habituation and image quality?
Portable Biometrics Workshop: Session Interface

 The creation of a biometric database taken at two points in time for each person is described. The goal is to have 10,000 sets of data.



Press Releases

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Created May 18, 2015, Updated November 15, 2019