Overview

Topics: Communications
Relevant moments in the customer journey: Awareness > Consideration > Enrollment > Management > Authentication
Created: 23 May 2024

Introduce and educate people about passkeys with a priming email that is clear and concise to promote adoption.

  • Include a subject line that effectively piques interest by highlighting the benefits of simplicity and convenience and encourages action.
  • Present passkeys as a new authentication method and emphasize that they are easy to set up by aligning them with familiar device capabilities (e.g., biometric authentication, such as fingerprint or facial recognition). 
  • Include clear and concise instructions on adding a passkey to ensure a smooth user experience and reduce potential confusion or frustration. Display the passkey icon to help people recognize and identify passkeys more easily.
  • Briefly explain what passkeys are and how they differ from traditional authentication methods. 
  • Highlight the two key benefits of passkeys, enhanced security, i.e., phishing-resistant, and the convenience of cross-device sign-in.
  • Provide a link for people to learn more about passkeys; offer more details and documentation to address any further questions or concerns.
  • Adopt a tone emphasizing people’s control over their preference and choice in adopting passkeys

Outcomes

  • The priming email serves as a primer, piquing people’s interest and curiosity about passkeys and encourages further engagement.
  • The priming email increases awareness of passkeys which helps people understand their value proposition and promotes their adoption.
  • The priming email encourages people to adopt a more secure authentication method by highlighting the security benefits of passkeys, such as their resistance to phishing attacks and biometric authentication.
  • The priming email builds trust and confidence in passkeys by emphasizing the security advantages of passkeys and providing additional resources for people to learn more. 
  • The priming email inclusion of the passkey icon helps improve the discoverability of passkeys and reinforces their visual identity and brand.
  • The priming email helps service providers deliver a better overall user experience, leading to increased user satisfaction and retention.
  • By increasing adoption, the number of support requests related to forgotten passwords, account lockouts, or other password or code-related issues may decrease, leading to cost savings for the service provider.
UX architecture diagram of the workflow for signing in.

Flow

Passkey priming email

Passkeys is a new term and authentication method for most people. Use the following proven priming email to describe the value of passkeys and promote adoption.

Subject line

For the subject line, capture people’s attention by highlighting passkeys’ value and benefits, such as simplicity and convenience while subtly prompting people to take action and explore the new authentication method. The subject line, “Simpler sign-in with passkeys is now available,” helps achieve this:

  • The promise of a “simpler sign-in” service as an initial introduction to passkeys and signals an improvement in the sign-in process. 
  • “Passkeys are now available” conveys that a new authentication feature is being introduced and encourages action.

Messaging

Use the recommended messaging to answer people’s more pertinent questions about passkeys: what are passkeys? how to add passkeys? and why use passkeys? Utilize the questions as headers in the email to organize the content, provide context, and make it easier for people to scan and prioritize information. Whenever possible, help people understand the nature and value of passkeys by comparing them to familiar technologies. This is particularly pertinent when introducing passkeys for the first time. 

Introduction

Start the email by introducing people to the new, more secure authentication method by associating the unfamiliar (passkeys) with the familiar (biometric authentication). “Passkeys are easy to set up and let you securely sign in to your DigitalFiles account using your fingerprint, face, screen lock, or hardware security key”

Add a passkey

Follow the introduction with instructions on how to add a passkey to help enable onboarding and encourage exploration. The instructions are concise to communicate the simplicity of the setup process and promote adoption. “After signing in, go to Security and Privacy settings and look for the passkey icon.” Present the “add a passkey” instruction in a boxed modal to create a visual contrast that makes it easier for people to notice. The visual hierarchy helps people quickly identify the key action they need to take.  Include the passkey iconography in the “add a passkey” message to help people identify passkeys and make it easier to locate and distinguish from other options in settings. 

What’s a passkey?

Convey the value proposition of passkeys by highlighting their benefits in terms of speeds, ease of use, and security over familiar traditional authentication methods (passwords and passcodes). “Passkeys are an alternative to passwords and one-time passcodes that provide faster, easier, and more secure sign-ins to DigitalFiles.”

What makes them great?

Highlight the two essential benefits of passkeys: enhanced security through phishing resistance and the convenience of cross-device access. These qualities help promote passkeys as a superior authentication method that combines security and usability. “Passkeys are phishing-resistant and are stored in your keychain or password manager, so you can easily use them on other devices.”

Learn more

Include a “learn more” option in the priming email to demonstrate transparency and a commitment to providing helpful information when needed. This shows people that the interest is not only to get them to take action but also to ensure that they understand the benefits and implications of adopting passkeys. 

Tone

Strike a balance between informative, encouraging, and empowering tones in the priming email to effectively communicate the benefits of passkeys while respecting user preferences and building trust in the overall passkey ecosystem.

Content

Copy and edit user tested content examples to suit your needs.


Email subject: Simpler sign-in with passkeys is now available

You can now sign in to DigitalFiles with a passkey.

Passkeys are easy to set up and let you securely sign in to your DigitalFiles account using your fingerprint, face, screen lock, or hardware security key”

Add a passkey
After signing in, go to Security and Privacy settings and look for the passkey icon.

What’s a passkey?
Passkeys are an alternative to passwords and one-time passcodes that provide faster, easier, and more secure sign-ins to DigitalFiles.

What makes them great?
Passkeys are phishing-resistant and are stored in your keychain or password manager, so you can easily use them on other devices.

Learn more at DigitalFiles.com/passkeys

UX Research

User experience research revealed that participants positively perceived the priming email’s subject line, “Simple sign-in with passkeys is now available,” for its clarity and simplicity. Participants reported that they were likely to open the email given the subject line, particularly those who were already familiar with the concept of passkeys. 

“I love being notified about that [new authentication method]. I love knowing about new technology, new stuff that comes out. So I can either make my life easier or just at least know what’s out there. I would definitely be tempted to click on it. I would want to know more about this.”

—Phase 2 – Participant 8 (age 45), Android (Chrome)

The user research indicated that the priming email’s language was simple and easy to understand. Participants described the explanation about passkeys as being clear and concise, helping them understand the concept of passkeys quickly. They found the listing of authentication options helpful for grasping the concept of passkeys and their value. This approach helped participants easily connect passkeys to a concept they were already familiar with, making them appear intuitive and easy to use. 

“I think the language is easy and simple to read. I thought it [passkeys] was something [else], it [the email] helped me understand passkeys a lot more than what I thought it was.”

—Phase 2 – Participant 6 (age 29), iPhone (Safari)

Participants valued the email highlighting phishing resistance and passkeys’ secure storage in a device’s keychain or password manager as the primary benefits of passkeys. It helped address their security and usability questions and built their trust in the passkey approach. 

“I like that it focuses on keeping them safe and secure, the phishing-resistant vocabulary.”

—Phase 2 – Participant 7 (age 38), iPhone (Safari)

Participants positively perceived the email’s design layout, particularly the “add a passkey” boxed modal, which effectively drew their attention and communicated the simplicity of setting up a passkey. 

“… when I open the email and I see how it says “add a passkey” how it’s like indented a little bit, that draws my eyes to it. And it tells it’s simple and easy to just go to security and privacy settings right there.”

—Phase 2 – Participant 3 (age 40), Android (Chrome)

Additionally, participants found it encouraging that passkey creation was presented as an optional feature rather than mandatory. This approach helped ease any pressure that could have been felt and avoided alienating participants hesitant about adopting a change to their sign-in process. 

“I feel like it’ll make people want to try it [passkeys] more, if it’s a choice, instead of it being mandatory.”

—Phase 2 – Participant 1 (age 27), Android (Chrome)

Rollout strategy

  • During strategic planning, identify user segments that are more likely to be receptive to the passkey introduction, such as those who have previously expressed interest in enhanced security features. Roll out the priming email in phases, starting with these small target user segments. This would allow you to gather feedback, monitor engagement, and make necessary adjustments before a wider rollout.
  • To reduce friction and address knowledge gaps, accompany the priming email with instructional resources and support, such as a dedicated support section or knowledge base. Offer live support or FAQs to address user questions and concerns. 
  • Ensure that the email content is accessible and inclusive for people with diverse needs and preferences. For example, include alternative text for images and ensure that the email is compatible with assistive technologies.

Ecosystem

  • Passkeys may require specific hardware or software support on users’ devices. Ensure that users are aware of the compatibility requirements for using passkeys and provide guidance on compatible devices and browsers.
  • In the native mobile app context, signing in with a passkey differs from the biometric sign-in experience that has existed for many years. Signing in with a passkey requires an additional tap.
  • Optimize the email layout and content for mobile devices by ensuring that it is responsive and easily readable on smaller screens, with clear calls to action and touch-friendly elements.

Security

  • Some service providers have policies to exlude any links in email communications. The option include or not include links in your email communications should match your unique security and business goals. Plan your UX in accord with your unique security and business needs. 

Code

Passkeys.dev contains the basics to get started with passkey development as well as links to several tools, libraries, references, and demos. It’s created by the W3C WebAuthn Community Adoption Group and members of the FIDO Alliance. https://passkeys.dev