Web browsers might benefit from a padlock icon bezel (like the Eject and Volume bezels which appear when using those keys) with text along the lines of “Secure Site” being displayed when they connect to an SSL encrypted site.
The lock icons that have been used since the early Netscape days work, but they are rather small and differ in window location from browser to browser:
- Safari: upper right corner
- OmniWeb: laid atop the URL arrow icon in the address field
- Mozilla: lower right corner
- Firebird, iCab: lower left corner
A bezel would allow users to maintain their focus on the actual page content area without having to glance at the lock icon to be reassured that the connection is indeed encrypted. Actual testing may reveal it to be needless hand-holding…
Because it would only be visible for a second or two, the bezel would supplement the continually displayed lock/key icon and should probably only be displayed once per top level domain.