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The Importance of Security in User Experience Enhancement in Product Development

As the modern world becomes increasingly reliant on digital technologies and software-based platforms providing users with remote access to essential information, product development teams must strike a suitable balance between reliable functionality and appropriate security.

When users engage with any digital service, they’re entering into an exchange in which their personal information is traded for a digital product, so it’s expected that this information will be handled responsibly. After all, user experience enhancement is as much about nurturing trust and integrity as it is about providing customers with an intuitive and well-designed final product.

Considering that 422 million American citizens were affected by data breaches in 2022 alone, product development teams must demonstrate a commitment to security if they’re to provide their users with a safe and reliable service. To understand this further, this short article will explore the importance of security in user experience enhancement in product development.

Managing development priorities

When it comes to data security, product design departments are often faced with two branching pathways. Should teams prioritize a smooth and seamless navigation process? Or understand that layered security measures will better protect sensitive customer information in the long run?

For example, developing a platform in which users are only required to present login credentials once before freely navigating through several related services will likely equate to a great user experience. Though with every deviation from the initial service comes a higher risk of data loss.

Conversely, a service that requests login credentials or some form of external verification every few seconds will likely begin to irritate active users, though the chance of customers facing any significant data breaches will be much lower. Ultimately, teams must find some form of balance.

Balancing security and user experience

Thankfully, by utilizing modern technologies and processes development teams can typically find a balance between appropriate security measures and a streamlined user experience, but these processes must be integrated into each service naturally at every stage of development.

Primarily, teams should prioritize adding additional layers of encryption to all data transfers and communications within the platform. This will ensure that user data is appropriately protected at each step of their journey without the need for unique credentials to be presented at every turn.

In addition, authentication processes can be made more user friendly by choosing to implement advanced verification systems such as biometric technologies. Most modern smart devices like phones, tablets and laptops already contain some form of biometric scanning technology. So in many cases, integrating biometrics into login protocols can speed up and streamline verification.

The importance of data security

Sensitive and identifiable user data has become an incredibly valuable commodity for malicious actors in recent years, especially as an increasing number of both digital and physical security systems become converged. With digital credentials now capable of granting access to physical tools like access control and security camera systems, data breaches become more of a threat.

Traditionally, user experience and security have been at odds, with many development teams feeling that enhancing one aspect will negatively impact the other. For example, allowing users to create their own easily-remembered passwords will likely act to improve the user experience, though at the significant cost of exposing essential systems via easily compromised credentials.

Attempting to fix this issue, however, by creating a policy in which passwords must be formed of long and complicated strings of information may only result in users forgetting their credentials and becoming frustrated with login processes. To effectively balance customer experience and security, organizations must consider each aspect equally throughout the development process.

Ways to combine user experience and security

Consult cybersecurity experts

User experience designers will often face unique constraints that impact how certain features are designed. Rather than adjusting these features with the sole purpose of improving usability, teams should consult cybersecurity professionals to receive insights into how specific changes might impact wider security protections, compliance regulations, new cybersecurity tools, and the results of penetration testing.

Collaborating with managed IT services can provide valuable input on implementing cybersecurity measures and ensuring compliance with industry regulations.

Communicate security via UI

Users should be informed of all active security policies and the reasoning behind implementing such measures via the user interface. If users understand why complex passwords are required, why they need to provide credentials multiple times and are reassured by reminders that SSL encryption is in place, they’ll be less likely to become irritated and more likely to trust services.

Explore multi-factor authentication (MFA)

The more pieces of unique credential information that malicious actors must compromise to gain access to a platform, the more secure the service will be. Implementing MFA policies to secure user data will both defend against cyber-attacks and demonstrate a commitment to protecting users, with modern SMS or smartphone-based biometrics MFA being particularly user-friendly.

Collect less user data

Arguably the simplest way to protect users from data breaches is to minimize data collection. Though collecting user data can help to customize experiences, it’s safer to limit this to vital information and ensure any data that’s no longer necessary is appropriately destroyed.

Final word

Considering the value of user data to both companies and criminals, it’s vital that development teams create effective policies designed that work with their existing cyber and physical security tools, such as pan-tilt-zoom cameras, to prevent data breaches. But often, high-level security features can negatively impact the user experience. To avoid this, a balance must be found between user experience and security to win user’s trust and protect valuable information.