Applying UX Design To Cybersecurity

If there’s one thing businesses should always focus on, it’s user experience (UX). If users aren’t having a good experience with your product, brand, or another aspect of your business, your company’s bottom line is suffering because of it. Increasingly, cybersecurity is becoming a big part of the user’s experience. Keep reading to find out more about how the two intersect, and how you can apply UX design to cybersecurity.

Where UX and Cybersecurity meet

Simply put, cybersecurity is a part of UX. Without safety and security as a priority, the user experience will almost always come up short. The healthcare industry provides us with a great example of this.

More and more people are using telehealth services and mental health apps. It’s prompted them to enlist the help of doctors and therapists in various locations to ensure they’re getting the care they need.

But the challenging part about telehealth services and apps is ensuring the sensitive information shared through these platforms is secure. Without a top-tier cybersecurity program, this data could easily fall into the hands of a malicious actor. All it takes is one breach to ruin a patient’s telehealth experience and turn them off from the service altogether.

Integrating easy-to-use security features into the design of telehealth platforms is the key to protecting patients using this service. But you’d have to dive into UX design and understand patients to make the right choices for those security features.

All in all, it’s vital to optimize UX and cybersecurity because they need each other to thrive. Cybersecurity programs need to be user-friendly to be successful. And UX needs cybersecurity to provide the best experience for users.

How to Apply UX Design to Cybersecurity

If you’ve yet to prioritize UX design in cybersecurity, there’s no better time to start than now. Businesses can apply UX design to their cybersecurity strategies by adopting the following practices.

What’s the bigger picture?

Applying UX design to cybersecurity starts with selling the big picture. Share with your team your vision for the cybersecurity experience for end users.

For example, you could talk about how easy you want it to be for end users to understand your security measures and find them. You could discuss how the cybersecurity program you’re hoping to build would make life easier and safer for end users. You could also talk about why cybersecurity is a priority generally.

Furthermore, share the experience you want the teams involved in building your cybersecurity program to have. For instance, what would collaboration among UX design and cybersecurity teams look like? What would that collaboration do for each department? What technologies and resources will you provide to make it all happen?

Better visualization for cybersecurity across your organization will ensure everyone is on board with providing a robust, easy-to-understand online security experience for every end user.

Make Cybersecurity a core value

Cybersecurity must be embedded in the fabric of your company culture for it and the UX you’re building around it to not come off as an afterthought.

When everyone in your business believes in keeping the end user safe and giving them the tools they need to secure their experience with your products, they’ll work harder to make it happen.

Shape your company culture and employee mindsets around cybersecurity by first making it a normal topic of discussion. Share how your cybersecurity program is progressing, what end users say about the experience, and ideas for improving it.

You can further solidify cybersecurity as a company core value by providing regular training opportunities. For example, you could require every employee to complete basic cybersecurity training that introduces them to your program’s technologies, practices, and goals.

After that, you could make a short training available for every update and meetings for any other pertinent cybersecurity information.

It’s all about emphasizing cybersecurity’s place in your company culture so that it becomes something your team really cares about and commits to providing your users.

Simplicity and clarity must be priorities

Cybersecurity is known to be multi-layered and can be complex for many to understand. If you can simplify your cybersecurity measures for end users and go over the top with clarity, you’re en route to successfully applying UX design to your program.

For example, delivery scams are increasing in cyberspace. Emails containing fake delivery notifications, lottery winnings, free vacations, and charity sweepstakes are just a few ways cyber thieves convince unsuspecting consumers to give up confidential information.

In this case, leaning on the simplicity and clarity often expressed in UX design in your cybersecurity program would look like:

  • Giving your users a heads-up about these kinds of scams going around
  • Breaking down ways to identify and report them
  • Being clear about the types of emails you do and don’t send
  • Sharing with users how you collect their data and what you use it for
  • Reminding users how you communicate with them and what about
  • Sharing ways to verify any communication sent by your business

Remember, simplicity and clarity must be priorities when applying UX design to cybersecurity.

Consider individuals living with a disability

One critical demographic most businesses neglect when constructing their cybersecurity programs is individuals living with a disability.

Millions of people live with cognitive, behavioral, mobility, psychological, and invisible disabilities. And these disabilities will absolutely impact the way they experience your cybersecurity measures. Therefore, you must ensure every person can count on your cybersecurity program, regardless of background, ability, or experience.

Account for individuals living with a disability from the beginning with cybersecurity. For example, are your cybersecurity tools easy for someone living with a cognitive disability to understand? Can someone living with a mobility challenge navigate your security measures?

If you have people on your team living with a disability, even better. They’ll be able to give you an honest perspective on how well your cybersecurity program addresses the needs of individuals with varying disabilities and what to do to improve it in this regard.

Ask your team for feedback

Of course, feedback from end users is critical for improvement. But so is the perspective of the people involved in building your cybersecurity program.

Meet with them often and discuss the following:

  • What is their perspective on UX design?
  • What does applying UX design to cybersecurity look like to them?
  • What are their expectations for the cybersecurity program?
  • How do they feel about cybersecurity’s current place in your company?
  • What improvements can you make to your cybersecurity program to make it more user-friendly?

Final Thoughts

If you’re hoping that integrating UX design into your cybersecurity program is a matter of a few adjustments here and there, unfortunately, it’s not that at all. Instead, you’ll need to continuously refine your cybersecurity program and weigh it against UX design principles to ensure it’s shaping how you want it to.

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