How UX Can Strengthen Data Security

Data security continues to be a major concern for internet users around the world. As a business on the Internet, it is your responsibility to ensure the security and privacy of your visitors’ and customers’ data.

There are plenty of data security measures you can implement, but here we focus specifically on UX design. Here’s how UX design can help you ensure the safety and security of user data.

Using two-step verification

Google has made two-step verification mandatory not without reason: it significantly improves the security of user accounts.

By simply adding an extra layer of security (other than the existing username and password combination), you encourage users to be more careful with their data and protect their information, even if their credentials are stolen.

You don’t need to add this second step to every single interaction. But when sensitive data is available, an extra layer of security must be guaranteed.

Also consider requesting repeated logins from the same device. While logging in every time is the safest option, it can be time consuming, so look for a middle ground.

Advise users to create strong passwords

Using secure accounts complex, strong passwords that are not easy to crack. However, most users will probably opt for something that they can easily remember and not pay too much attention to account security.

By designating weak passwords or preventing users from registering them at all, you do a lot to improve data security. It can result in many “forgot password” requests, but you can also encourage the use of a password manager.

Advertise your data security efforts

Users will want to know what you are doing to protect their sensitive information, and a simple page listing your privacy policy may not be enough. A privacy policy generated by you using a template tool Surely won’t cut it.

Use simple terms and remove as much technical jargon as possible. Users who are more knowledgeable about security will still be able to understand you, just like everyone else, even if they have no idea what an SSL is.

Get as detailed as possible about what you will do if your data storage servers are attacked. Be clear about how you deal with data breaches. Showing that you are prepared improves the user experience and can give you more confidence.

Improve the way you structure information

Users often do not understand the security-related information a company presents. Either the terms themselves are confusing or unfamiliar, or the sentence structures are too complex and redundant. More often than not, the page itself is structured in a confusing way.

To improve the readability of the data security information you share, try to use card sort method. It can help you design a new page that makes much more sense to your visitors and customers.

Test different versions of the same page to make sure you’ve found a solution that works. After all, your users may process information in a very different way, so you need to make sure you reach as many people as possible.

Prevent submission of plain text passwords

Whether or not you should use a hashing algorithm when sending and storing passwords is an ongoing debate. Either way, an extra layer of security can never be a bad thing, especially if it doesn’t negatively affect UX.

Hashing passwords as users log in prevents hackers from accessing sensitive information in plain text. Since hashed passwords are encoded in random strings, they are the safer choice.

Collect less information

Users generally don’t like to part with a lot of personal and sensitive information. The less a brand knows about them, the more secure they will feel.

To improve both your user experience and your data security efforts, collect as little information as possible about your users. For example, you probably need their name and email address. But unless you ship products, you don’t need their physical address either. Gathering information about their ages and interests will help your marketing efforts, but it can only add to the frustration. Plus, it expands your data clusters.

Also consider reducing the number of cookies you use and limiting them to what is absolutely necessary. The less chance of a breach, the more secure your users will be.

Striking the right balance between user experience and data security is not an insurmountable task. You will have to give a little and start collecting less data about every person who comes by your website. But this shouldn’t affect your marketing efforts and it will help you improve your data security.

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