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ABFAB                                                           R. Smith
Internet-Draft                                        Cardiff University
Intended status: Informational                        September 25, 2013
Expires: March 29, 2014


 Application Bridging for Federated Access Beyond web (ABFAB) Usability
                   and User Interface Considerations
            draft-smith-abfab-usability-ui-considerations-04

Abstract

   The use of ABFAB-based technologies requires that each user's device
   is configured with the user's identities that they wish to use in
   ABFAB transactions.  This will require something on that device,
   either built into the operating system or a standalone utility, that
   will manage the user's identities and identity to service mappings.
   Anyone designing that "something" will face the same set of
   challenges.  This document aims to document these challenges with the
   aim of producing well-thought out UIs with some degree of
   consistency.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at http://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on March 29, 2014.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2013 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents



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   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.














































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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   2.  Conventions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   3.  Terminology  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   4.  Context  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   5.  Considerations around Terminology  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
     5.1.  Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
     5.2.  Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
     5.3.  Identity to Service Mapping  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
   6.  Considerations around Management of Identities . . . . . . . .  7
     6.1.  Information associated with each Identity  . . . . . . . .  7
     6.2.  Adding/Association of an Identity  . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       6.2.1.  Manual Addition  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       6.2.2.  Manually Triggered Automated Addition  . . . . . . . .  9
       6.2.3.  Fully Automated Addition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
     6.3.  Modifying Identity Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       6.3.1.  Manual Modification  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       6.3.2.  Automated Modification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     6.4.  Verifying an identity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     6.5.  Removing an Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
       6.5.1.  Manual Removal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
       6.5.2.  Automated Removal  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   7.  Considerations around Management of Service to Identity
       Mappings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
     7.1.  Listing Services and Identities  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
     7.2.  Showing the Identity currently in use  . . . . . . . . . . 12
     7.3.  Associating a Service with an Identity . . . . . . . . . . 12
       7.3.1.  User-driven Manual Association . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
       7.3.2.  Automated Rules-based Association  . . . . . . . . . . 13
     7.4.  Disassociating a Service with an Identity  . . . . . . . . 13
   8.  Handling of Errors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
     8.1.  Identity Association/Verification Errors . . . . . . . . . 14
     8.2.  Service Errors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
     8.3.  Other Errors.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
   9.  Handling of Successes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
     9.1.  Reporting Authentication Success on First Use of
           Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
     9.2.  Reporting Authentication Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
   10. Other Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
     10.1. Import/Export of Credentials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
   11. Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
   12. Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
   13. Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
   14. IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
   15. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
   Appendix A.  Change Log  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
   Appendix B.  Open Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16



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1.  Introduction

   The use of ABFAB-based technologies requires that a user's device is
   configured with their identities that they wish to use in ABFAB
   transactions.  Achieving this will require something on that device,
   either built into the operating system or a standalone utility, that
   will manage the user's identities and identity to service mappings.
   Anyone designing that "something" will face the same set of
   challenges.  This document aims to document these challenges with the
   aim of producing well-thought out UIs with some degree of
   consistency.

2.  Conventions

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

3.  Terminology

   Various items of terminology used in the document are heavily
   overloaded and thus could mean a variety of different things to
   different people.  In an attempt to minimise this problem, this
   section gives a brief description of the main items of terminology
   used in order to aid with a consistent understanding of this
   document.

   o  NAI: Network Access Identifier - a standard way of identifying a
      user.  See [RFC4282].

   o  Identity: In this context, an identity is a credential given to a
      user by a particular organisation with which they have an
      association.  A user MAY have multiple identities.  The identity
      will consist of an NAI, alongside other information that supports
      authentication.

   o  Service: The thing that the user is attempting to authenticate to
      via ABFAB technology.  See [TODO: Link to ABFAB-Use-Cases] for
      example use cases of what these services could be.

   o  Identity Selector: The mechanism by which the GSS-API acquires the
      identity to use with a particular service.  An Identity Selector
      typically would allow the user to configure a set of identities
      along with service to identity mappings.

   o  Trust anchor: An authoritative source of verification of a
      particular service, used to allow authentication of a server using
      X.509 [TODO: link].  Typically a commercial CA to allow



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      authentication via chain of trust, or a preconfigured non-
      commercial certificate.

4.  Context

   When using the ABFAB architecture to perform federated authentication
   to some service, when a user attempts to authenticate to an ABFAB
   secured application they will need to provide identity information
   that they wish to authenticate to that particular service with.  This
   will happen through a process of the application calling the GSS-API,
   which will in turn gather the users credentials through whatever
   mechanism it has been configured to do so.  We will call this
   mechanism the "identity selector" in this document, though note that
   this is not a recommendation on terminology for the mechanism!

   The simplest way to achieve the desired effect would be a mechanism
   that simply takes the credentials from the currently logged in user
   (e.g. the Windows Domain Credentials) and uses those for all services
   that request authenticate through ABFAB.  This approach gives
   ultimate simplicity in terms of UI - i.e. it wouldn't have one - but
   the least flexibility.  If there is ever to be a requirement for a
   user to use a different set of credentials for a service, then
   something more complex will be needed.

   Where there is a requirement for multiple credentials to be
   supported, there are of course two methods that could be employed to
   configure identities and associated information:

   o  They could be configured manually by a user in a configuration
      file that could be edited by hand or some such simple mechanism,
      and read by the GSS-API mechanism.  While this could work very
      well functionally, in practice only a small subset of users would
      be happy with - and able to - configure their identities in such a
      manner.

   o  They could be configured through some interactive mechanism.  For
      ease of use this should have a simple UI, although a headless mode
      may need to be supported for those not using a GUI.

   When designing an identity selector with a UI (or indeed, with a
   headless mode), any implementer will share a common set of usability
   considerations inherent to the context.  This document aims to
   explore these considerations, and provide advice and guidance on
   addressing them where possible.







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5.  Considerations around Terminology

   Anyone designing an identity selector will have to grapple with
   choosing terminology that the average user has some chance of
   understanding.  This terminology can split into a few main functional
   areas, as discussed next.

5.1.  Identity

   The first area where terminology is needed is around the identity/
   identities of the user.  Users are typically used to seeing a variety
   of terms for aspects of their identity in the federated sense, and an
   even larger variety in the wider internet sense.  For example, in the
   federated sense some of these terms include "username", "login",
   "network account", "institutional account", "home organisation
   account", "credentials", and a myriad of other such terms.  However,
   NAI - the technically correct name for their identity in an ABFAB
   sense - is highly unlikely to be one of these terms that users are
   used to seeing.

   Implementers of an identity selector will need to carefully consider
   their intended audience for both their level of technical capability
   and the existing terminology that they may have been exposed to.

   Beyond terminology, careful thought needs to be given to the paradigm
   to use when presenting identity to users, as identities and services
   are abstract concepts that some users may not find is easily
   understandable.  Implementers may wish to keep such abstract
   concepts, or may wish to examine attempts to map to real world
   paradigms, e.g. the idea of using "Identity Cards" that are held in
   the user's "Wallet", as used by Microsoft Cardspace.

5.2.  Services

   Terminology around services is likely to be less of a problem than
   identity, but it will actually depend on what the service is.  For
   example, each service could be simply described as "server",
   "system", etc.  But for simplicity just the word "service" will
   probably suffice.

5.3.  Identity to Service Mapping

   Depending on your perspective either each identity may be mapped to
   multiple services, or each service has multiple identities mapped to
   it.  Thus any UI could present either perspective, or both.






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6.  Considerations around Management of Identities

   One of the core features of an identity selector is the management of
   a user's identities.  This section first looks at what information
   associated with an identity will need to managed, and then looks in
   detail at various usability considerations of this area.

6.1.  Information associated with each Identity

   There is firstly a minimal set of information that MUST be stored
   about each identity to allow ABFAB authentication to take place:

   o  NAI: The user's Network Access Identifier (see [RFC4282]) for this
      particular credentials.  For example, "joe@example.com".

   o  Password: The password associated with this particular NAI.

   o  Trust anchor: For the identity selector to be able to verify that
      the server it is going to talk to and attempt to authenticate
      against is the server that it is expecting, and that it is not
      being spoofed in some way.  This is likely to be an X.509
      certificate [TODO X509 ref], or a tuple of (trusted root
      certificate, servername in Subject or subjectAltName).

   Next up is a small set of information that SHOULD be stored about
   each identity to allow the user to effectively select a particular
   identity:

   o  Friendly name for identity: To allow the user to differentiate
      between the set of identities represented in the Identity
      Selector.  This should be editable by the user.  The only
      restriction on this name is that it MUST be unique within that
      particular user's set of identities.  For example: "My
      University", "Google Account", "Work Login", etc.

   o  Friendly icon for identity: To allow the user to differentiate
      between the set of identities they have they should be able to set
      an icon for that particular identity.

   Finally, there is a set of optional information that MAY be stored
   about each identity that represent useful information for the user to
   have.  Note that this list is not intended to be exhaustive; any
   implementer is free to add any more items to their identity selector
   that make sense in their implementation.

   o  Password changing URL: The URL the user should visit should they
      need to change their password for this particular identity.  For
      example, "http://www.example.com/passwordreset".



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   o  Helpdesk URL: The URL the user should visit to get contact details
      for the helpdesk of the organisation that issued this particular
      identity for when the user encounters issues and needs help.  For
      example, https://www.exmaple.com/helpdesk.

6.2.  Adding/Association of an Identity

   Users will have one or more identities given to them by organisations
   that they have a relationship with.  One of the core tasks of an
   identity selector will be to learn about these identities in order to
   use them when it comes to authenticating to services on behalf of the
   user.  Adding these identities could be done in one of three ways:
   manual addition, automated addition that is manually triggered, or
   automated addition that is automatically triggered.  Each of these
   are discussed in more detail next.

   Note that the term "association" or "addition" of an identity is used
   rather than "provisioning" of an identity, because while we actually
   are provisioning identities into the UI, provisioning is an
   overloaded term in the identity and access management space and could
   easily be confused with identity provisioning in the sense of the
   creation of the identity by the home organisation's identity
   management procedures.

6.2.1.  Manual Addition

   Allowing users to manually add an identity is technically the easiest
   method to get this information, but it is a method that has the
   greatest usability drawbacks.  Most of the information required is
   relatively technical and finding some way of explaining what each
   field is to an non-technical audience is challenging (to say the
   least).  This especially is the case for trust anchor information.
   Thus this method should be considered as a power-user option only, or
   as a fall-back should the other methods not be applicable.

   When this method is used, careful consideration should be given to
   the UI presented to the user.  The UI will have to ask for all of the
   information detailed in Section 6.1.

   There are two points at which a user could manually add an identity:

   o  Asynchronously: the user could be allowed to, at any time, trigger
      a workflow of manually adding an identity.  This represents the
      most flexible way of adding an identity since a user can perform
      this at any time.  It does, however, have inherent issues when it
      comes to verifying the newly added identity - see Section 6.4.





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   o  Just In Time: when connecting to a service which has no mapping to
      an existing identity, the user could be given an option to add a
      new one, as well as associating with an existing one.  This
      presents a better user experience when it comes to verifying the
      newly added identity (see Section 6.4), however, represents a less
      direct method of adding an identity.  Users who have not yet added
      the appropriate identity to their identity selector may find it
      difficult to understand that they must try to access a particular
      service in order to add an identity.

   Of course, implementers could support both styles of identity
   addition to gain the benefits of both and give flexibility to the
   user.

   One item worthy of discussion here is the area of verification of
   trust anchors.  An Identity Selector SHOULD try to ensure that manual
   addition of an identity and checking of the relevant trust anchors is
   done as securely as possible, whereby users have to enter and confirm
   all trust anchor information, or be required to explicitly agree to
   an insecure configuration if this is not done properly.

6.2.2.  Manually Triggered Automated Addition

   One way to bypass the need for manual addition of a user's identity -
   and all of the usability issues inherent with that approach - is to
   provide some sort of manually triggered, but automated, provisioning
   process.

   One approach to accomplishing this, for example, could be for an
   organisation to have a section on their website where their users
   could visit, enter the user part of their NAI, and be given piece of
   provisioning data that contains much or all of the relevant identity
   information for importing into the identity selector.

   It is reasonable to assume that any such provisioning service is
   likely to be organisation specific, so that the Issuing Organisation
   and realm part of the NAI will be constant, as would be the trust
   anchor information.  The user part of their NAI will have been input
   on the web service.  The password could be provided as a part of the
   provisioning file or the identity selector could prompt the user to
   enter it.

   Additionally, the user SHOULD be given the opportunity to:

   o  Supply or change the default friendly name for that identity - to
      allow the user to customise the identifier they use for that
      identity;




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   o  Indicate whether or not the identity selector should always ask
      before using services with this identity - to customise the way in
      which the identity selector interacts with the user with this
      particular identity;

   o  Reject the addition of the identity completely - to allow the user
      to back out of the association process in an intuitive way.

   In this case, trust anchors could be directly provided through the
   provisioning mechanism to help establish the trust relationship in a
   secure manner.

6.2.3.  Fully Automated Addition

   Many organisations manage the machines of their users using
   enterprise management tools.  Such organisations may wish to be able
   to automatically add a particular user's identity to the identity
   selector on their machine/network account so that the user has to do
   nothing.

   This represents the best usability for the user - who wouldn't
   actually have to do anything.  However, it can only work on machines
   centrally managed by the organisation.

   Additionally, having an identity automatically provided, including
   its password, does have some particular usability issues.  Users are
   used to having to provide their username and password to access
   services.  When attempting to access services, authenticating to them
   completely transparently to the user could represent a source of
   confusion.  User training within an organisation to explain that
   automated provisioning of their identity has been enabled is the only
   way to counter this.

6.3.  Modifying Identity Information

   This process is conceptually fairly similar to adding an identity,
   and thus shares many of the usability issues with that process.  Some
   particular things are discussed here.

6.3.1.  Manual Modification

   An identity selector may allow a user to manually modify some or all
   of the information associated with each identity.  The obvious item
   that MUST be allowed to be changed by the user is the password
   associated with the identity.






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6.3.2.  Automated Modification

   To ease usability, organisations may wish to automatically provide
   updates to identity information.  For example, if the user's password
   changes, it could automatically update the password for the identity
   in the user's identity selector.

6.4.  Verifying an identity

   An inherent by-product of the ABFAB architecture is that an identity
   cannot be verified during the addition process; it can only be
   verified while it is in use with a real service.  This represents a
   definite usability issue no matter which method of identity addition
   is used (see Section 6.2):

   o  If the user has manually added the identity (see Section 6.2) they
      may have gone through the whole manual process with no errors and
      so believe the identity has been set up correctly.  However, when
      they attempt to access a service, they may be given an error
      message, thus causing some amount of confusion.

   o  If the user has had the identity provisioned into their identity
      selector, then there is a much greater chance of the identity
      information being correct.  However, if any of the information is
      not correct, then there is the potential for confusion as the user
      did not add the information in the first place.

   Also, if the identity information is incorrect the user may not know
   where the error lies, and the error messages provided by the
   mechanism may not be helpful enough to indicate the error and how to
   fix it (see Section 8).

6.5.  Removing an Identity

   This is fairly similar to adding or modifying an identity, and thus
   shares many of the usability issues with those processes.  Some
   particular things are discussed here.

6.5.1.  Manual Removal

   Allowing the user to manually delete an identity is probably the best
   way to achieve the goal.  Any UI should allow for this option.

6.5.2.  Automated Removal

   While automated removal of an identity is a way of achieving the goal
   without having to interact with the user, the consequence is that
   things may disappear from the user's identity selector without them



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   realising.

7.  Considerations around Management of Service to Identity Mappings

   A service to identity mapping tell the identity selector which
   identity should be used for a particular service.  There is
   potentially a many-to-many association between identities and
   services since a user may wish to use one of their identities for
   many services, or more than one identity for a single service (e.g.
   if they have multiple roles on that service).

   This potentially complex many-to-many association between is not
   easily comprehended by the user, and allowing the user to both
   manipulate it and control can be challenging.  These obstacles are
   especially common when errors occur after an association has been
   made.  In this scenario it is important that an identity can be
   disassociated with a service.

7.1.  Listing Services and Identities

   A service listing should be considered in the identity selector which
   is both searchable and editable by the user.

7.2.  Showing the Identity currently in use

   It would be beneficial if, when using a service, the identity
   currently in use could be made visible to the user while he/she is
   using a specific service.  This allows the user to identify which the
   identity is used with a particular service at a particular time (the
   user may have more than one identity that they could use with a
   particular service) - so that they can then disassociate the pairing.

7.3.  Associating a Service with an Identity

   There needs to be a way for the user to create the service to
   identity association.  It is advisable that this link be made only
   after the identity in question has authenticated with the service
   without any error.

   There are a few ways this association could happen.

7.3.1.  User-driven Manual Association

   There are two ways in which manual association of an identity to a
   service could happen:

   1.  The user could manually associate a particular service with a
       particular identity using the identity selector before they first



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       attempt to use the service.  In order to do so, however, the user
       would need to know all the required technical details of that
       service beforehand, such as its GSS Acceptor Name.

   2.  On encountering a service new to the identity selector, the
       identity selector could pop up a dialogue box to the user asking
       if they would like to use an existing identity for this service
       (and might also allow them to create a new identity and use
       that).

7.3.2.  Automated Rules-based Association

   It would be beneficial from a usability perspective to minimise - or
   avoid entirely - situations where the user has to pick an identity
   for a particular service.  This could be accomplished by having rules
   to describe services and their mapping to identities.  Such a rule
   could match, for example, a particular identity for all IMAP servers,
   or a particular identity for all services in a given service realm.
   These rules could be configured as a part of the automated identity
   addition process described in Section 6.2.2 or Section 6.2.3

7.4.  Disassociating a Service with an Identity

   A user MUST be able to disassociate an identity with a service - that
   is, to be able to remove the mapping without having to remove the
   identity.

   There should also be provision for the automated disassociation of an
   identity with a service for appropriate types of authentication
   failures.

8.  Handling of Errors

   All GSS-API calls need to be instantiated from the application.  For
   this reason when an error occurs the user needs to be sent back to
   the application to re-initiate the GSS-API call.  This can get
   tedious and cause the user to opt out of what they are trying to
   accomplish.  In addition to this the error messages themselves may
   not be useful enough for the user to decipher what has gone wrong.

   It is important to try and avoid error cases all together while using
   GSS-API as error messages and error handling can really effect
   usability.  Another solution would be to alter the application to
   handle the errors as it is instantiating the GSS-API communication.

   TODO: Lots more to discuss here...





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8.1.  Identity Association/Verification Errors

   TODO: e.g. wrong password, bad trust anchors, etc.  TODO.

8.2.  Service Errors

   TODO: e.g. identity is correct but no authorisation.  TODO.

8.3.  Other Errors.

   TODO: e.g. network errors.  TODO.

9.  Handling of Successes

   It is of course hoped that the identity selector will have to
   occasionally handle successes as well as errors.  This section has
   some brief discussion about some areas you might want to think about.

9.1.  Reporting Authentication Success on First Use of Identity

   The first time an identity is used with a service, it would be good
   practice to visually indicate in some way that the process has been
   successful, in order that the user understands what is happening and
   is then prepared for future authentication attempts.

9.2.  Reporting Authentication Success

   On an on-going basis you may or may not wish to indicate visually to
   the user a successful authentication to a service.  This relates to
   Section 7.2.

10.  Other Considerations

   This section briefly discusses other considerations that you might
   want to think about that don't fit in any of the other categories.

10.1.  Import/Export of Credentials

   For various reasons, an identity selector implementation might want
   to include functionality that allows for the export/import of
   identities and service to identity mappings.  This could be for
   backup purposes, to allow a degree of mobility between identity
   selector instances, etc.

   If providing this functionality, it would be advisable that the
   credential store that is the result of the export should be secure -
   encrypted and password protected - given the nature of the
   information.



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11.  Contributors

   The following individuals made important contributions to the text of
   this document: Sam Hartman (Painless Security LLC), and Maria Turk
   (Codethink Ltd).

12.  Acknowledgements

   Jim, Stefan.

13.  Security Considerations

   TODO

14.  IANA Considerations

   This document does not require actions by IANA.

15.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC4282]  Aboba, B., Beadles, M., Arkko, J., and P. Eronen, "The
              Network Access Identifier", RFC 4282, December 2005.

Appendix A.  Change Log

   Note to RFC Editor: if this document does not obsolete an existing
   RFC, please remove this appendix before publication as an RFC.

   Draft -03 to draft -04

   1.  Addressing various comments from Jim and Stefan.

   Draft -02 to draft -03

   1.  Bumping version to keep it alive.

   Draft -01 to draft -02

   1.  Completed the major consideration sections, lots of rewording
       throughout.

   Draft -00 to draft -01

   1.  None, republishing to refresh the document.  Other than adding
       this comment...



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Appendix B.  Open Issues

   Note to RFC Editor: please remove this appendix before publication as
   an RFC.

Author's Address

   Dr. Rhys Smith
   Cardiff University
   39-41 Park Place
   Cardiff  CF10 3BB
   United Kingdom

   Phone: +44 29 2087 0126
   EMail: smith@cardiff.ac.uk




































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