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Usability for Biometric Systems


With the plans for integrating biometrics into many areas of government and public life, the importance of usability research has increased. As we began to study the usability of biometric technologies and applications we realized that our partners in the biometric community were unfamiliar with usability terminology and methodologies. Part of fostering an effective partnership is communicating the value and benefit of the usability discipline.


In order to improve the usability of biometric systems, it is critical to take a holistic approach that considers the needs of users as well as the entire experience users will have with a system, including the hardware, software and instructional design of a system. Adopting a user-centric view of the biometric process is not only beneficial to the end users, but a user-centric view can also help to improve the performance and effectiveness of a system.

We hope that this work will be useful in continuing to promote a collaborate research environment between the biometric and usability research communities.

End Date:


Lead Organizational Unit:



Federal Bureau of Investigation
Department of Homeland Security
Department of State


Mary Theofanos, Project Lead

Yee-Yin Choong
Brian Stanton
Charles Sheppard
Michelle Steves

Related Programs and Projects:

The Usability and Biometrics Hub


Mary Theofanos

T: (301) 975-5889
E: mary.theofanos(at)nist.gov