A Comprehensive Study of the Usability of Multiple Graphical Passwords

  • Soumyadeb Chowdhury
  • Ron Poet
  • Lewis Mackenzie
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8119)


Recognition-based graphical authentication systems (RBGSs) using images as passwords have been proposed as one potential solution to the need for more usable authentication. The rapid increase in the technologies requiring user authentication has increased the number of passwords that users have to remember. But nearly all prior work with RBGSs has studied the usability of a single password. In this paper, we present the first published comparison of the usability of multiple graphical passwords with four different image types: Mikon, doodle, art and everyday objects (food, buildings, sports etc.). A longitudinal experiment was performed with 100 participants over a period of 8 weeks, to examine the usability performance of each of the image types. The results of the study demonstrate that object images are most usable in the sense of being more memorable and less time-consuming to employ, Mikon images are close behind but doodle and art images are significantly inferior. The results of our study complement cognitive literature on the picture superiority effect, visual search process and nameability of visually complex images.


usability user authentication multiple image passwords 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soumyadeb Chowdhury
    • 1
  • Ron Poet
    • 1
  • Lewis Mackenzie
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computing ScienceUniversity of GlasgowUK

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