Self Explaining Password Dialog

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Make the dialog that requests the master password self-explaining. An inexperienced user has no idea what the message box "Please enter the master password for the Software Security Device" means. To an inexperienced user, this message box appears out of the blue when he enters some webpage. The dialog needs to make clear to the user that Firefox has securely stored a password for the website that he is visiting and that the user has the option to let Firefox enter the password or that he can just skip automatic password entry.

I have installed Firefox on several PCs for users with little surfing experience and always made sure to turn on master password. After some time I had to turn it off, because Firefox would always pop these dialogs up in moments where the user is worried anyhow because they are on some website where they need to create or enter passwords. In most cases, the users did not realize that the browser was bringing up this dialog. They thought that this was part of the website. Thus users had a very hard time understanding what was going on.

For example: Currently:

Message Box Title: Prompt
Icon:              Question Symbol
Text:              Please enter the master password for the Software Security Device


Message Box Title: Firefox password store
Icon:              An icon with a masked edit box and an arrow pointing into it (symbolizing password entry)
Text:              You are entering a web site for which Firefox has saved your password. If you want to let 
                   Firefox automatically enter your password for you, please enter your master password. Otherwise
                   press cancel. 

Of course, a similar change needs to be made to the dialog that prompts for the password when Firefox detects that it needs to store a password.

So maybe the text I proposed above needs to generalized for both cases in which the password store requests a password (case 1: Firefox detects that the user has entered a password, case 2: Firefox detects that the user is opening a page for which it knows the password).


The message box for the master password pops up over the current window regardless of which tab is currently visible in a multitabbed environment. This causes additional confusion, because the user does not know which web page is requesting a password. In order to clear the confusion one of two options can be taken:

  1. The tab requesting the password should be brought to the foreground before the message box is shown.
  2. The message box can include the page title and/or the URI of the web page requesting a password:
Message Box Title: Firefox Master Password
Icon: An icon with a masked edit box containing several asterisks with an arrow pointing to it (symbolizing password entry)
Text: Firefox has a saved password for this website. Please enter your master password to restore your saved password or click cancel.
Text: <title>
Text: <uri>