Man with Laptop and Credit CardA user-friendly website is essential for success in business today. Sites must not only be easy to navigate on PCs, but on smartphones and tablets, as well. Complicating all of this is the increasing pressure businesses feel to ensure all interactions are as secure as possible. In an ideal world, businesses would be able to balance both without sacrificing one for the other. Unfortunately, many businesses today are forced to weigh usability against tightened security when building apps or redesigning websites.

But with the ongoing threat of data breaches, businesses can’t afford to stop paying attention to security. Brand reputation is at stake. Without an easy-to-use website, though, they may not be able to build a high-impact reputation in the first place. It’s important that business strike the right balance between both to keep customer safe without creating a complicated user experience.

User Experience vs. Security

When a consumer navigates your site, there’s likely a specific purpose. A customer may be interested in learning your store hours or directions, searching for information on pricing, making a purchase, or one of many other goals. If the information is the end goal, your website’s navigability is the most important thing, since customers will likely grab information and go. In that case, the only time you’re likely putting customer data at risk is if your site is hacked or you’re collecting information.

Some businesses collect information solely for building a contact list. Others gather it as a necessary part of the purchase process. In either case, this is where customers must make a choice between navigability and user experience. An additional step during checkout could make a big difference in safeguarding customer data, but what if that extra step makes the process less convenient for consumers and they exit the site without finishing the purchase?

The Benefits of Analytics

Unfortunately, a certain amount of security is required as a part of accepting credit cards or gathering customer information. Businesses can work hard to make sure these measures are implemented in a way that maintains the usability of their sites and apps, but a certain amount of inconvenience is a necessary part of the process. By including verbiage that explains these measures are for the customer’s safety, businesses can hopefully offset any frustration their visitors and app users feel.

One way to maintain security and usability in unison is to employ analytics to monitor how customers are interacting with your website. Pay special attention to shopping cart abandonment instances and click-throughs. If you see a pattern of customers exiting your site at a certain point, you may be able to pinpoint an area where usability is a serious issue.

Maintaining security and usability within your apps and websites can be complicated. However, with the right amount of balancing and careful monitoring of your analytics, you’ll be able to keep your customers both safe and happy. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other, but you do have to listen to customers and monitor customer behaviors to make sure you’re connecting with them in a way that brings results.