More and more people use the Internet and for more purposes than for some years ago - for shopping, paying their bills etc. Using the Internet help people socializing in many ways, but it also brings problems - identity and privacy problems. To solve these problems, several companies and organizations are trying to build som kind of identity manager that shall help people to control their identities online. Two of them are PRIME, a European Union-financed project and Microsoft.
The purpose of this essay is to describe a number of identity managers, and to compare CardSpace, built by Microsoft, and a prototype developed by PRIME, in more detail. The comparison will focus on history functionality that helps users keep track of data they have sent. To find out what people want to see in a history function like this, a user test was performed where 12 test persons evualated PRIME and CardSpace.
The history function of PRIME is much more advanced than the history function of CardSpace. It enables users to search for transactions and it shows more details of each transaction. But, it should be added that PRIME is not a working program yet, just a prototype, and therefore it is easier to include functionality that the researchers wish to include, but that may be hard to realize. CardSpace is included in Windows Vista and should be possible to use if websites were CardSpace-enabled.
The user test showed that people were positive to use an identity manager when they send information online. The program most of the test persons preferred was PRIME, because it enabled them to search for transactions. The test also resulted in some important criteria to think about when building a usable identity manager. They are:
- Make a nice user interface that is easy to use, with a simple language.
- Make it easy to find the transactions, e.g. via a search function, and make it possible to see all transactions in one place.
- Show as much information about the transactions as possible.
- Help functionality should exist and should also be searchable.
- Integration of history function and the web browser would make it easier for the user