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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 July 2021

Vivek Rao*
University of California, Berkeley;
George Moore
University of California, Berkeley;
Hyun Jie Jung
University of California, Berkeley;
Euiyoung Kim
Delft University of Technology
Alice Agogino
University of California, Berkeley;
Kosa Goucher-Lambert
University of California, Berkeley;
Rao, Vivek, UC Berkeley, Mechanical Engineering, United States of America,


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Increasingly digital products and services make cybersecurity a crucial issue for designers. However, human-centered designers struggle to consider it in their work, partially a consequence of the high psychological distance between designers and cybersecurity. In this work, we build on the Design for Cybersecurity (DfC) Cards, an intervention to help designers consider cybersecurity, and examine a project-based design course to understand how and why specific DfC cards were used. Three findings result. First, designers found the intervention useful across all design phases and activities. Second, the cards helped design teams refocus their attention on the problem domain and project outcome. Third, we identify a need for support in framing and converging during user research, opportunity identification, and prototyping. We argue that the psychological distance between designers and the problem space of cybersecurity partially explains these findings, and ultimately exacerbates existing challenges in the design process. These findings suggest that design interventions must consider the psychological distance between designer and problem space, and have application in design practice across many complex problem domains.

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The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press


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