Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

A Taxonomy of Definitions for Usability Studies in Biometrics



Ross J. Micheals, Brian C. Stanton, Mary F. Theofanos, Shahram Orandi


Historically, usability research strives to focus on user behavior in a manner that is as system independent as possible. Although ¿ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 Standing Document 2 ¿ Harmonized Biometric Vocabulary, Draft N1779¿ provides a foundation towards common terminology, it currently lacks definitions specifically for use in usability studies that are also consistent with this practice. To address this gap, this document describes a taxonomy of definitions for use in usability studies of biometrics. The use of the term taxonomy was deliberately selected since the terms as presented here represent different classes of definitions. That is, practitioners are expected to further refine the terminology to best fit their particular needs. The taxonomy is designed to be general enough to incorporate a variety of world views, but specific enough to provide a common ontology for facilitating clear and concise communication. Whenever possible, the taxonomy was designed to fit within the aforementioned international Harmonized Biometric Vocabulary. However, it is emphasized that these definitions are distinct from existing biometric terminology in that each term is driven by user behavior as opposed to a system-oriented viewpoint.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7378
Report Number


biometrics, definitions, harmonized vocabulary, taxonomy, usability


Micheals, R. , Stanton, B. , Theofanos, M. and Orandi, S. (2006), A Taxonomy of Definitions for Usability Studies in Biometrics, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 21, 2024)
Created November 27, 2006, Updated November 10, 2018