Digital Identity: How has the relationship between UX and security evolved?

Finding the balance between user experience and security in a digital identity verification process is not easy. Firstly, because drawing up the boundaries is complicated: At what point does security start to annoy the user? Or the other way around: At what point do ease of use and removing barriers to the process pose a risk to data security?

Secondly, and perhaps the most decisive factor at a strategic level, is that these boundaries seem to be constantly moving. With the increase in technology use in our day-to-day lives, the need for operations to be easier, more intuitive and faster also increases. But security breaches also increase, and with this, users worry more about the security of their data. Thus, the boundary line between UX and security, already difficult to trace, varies as the user gains a greater awareness of what their digital identity implies.

The (balance) between UX and security

But, does there really have to be a boundary line? In other words, are UX and digital security two opposite concepts that have to be balanced, as they have been configured until now? Or can they complement each other in order to bring technology to a new stage?

In fact, it seems that users do not want a totally frictionless experience, especially when it comes to opening a bank account. In an Experian study, 66% of users claimed that security "barriers" made them feel better protected. Another interesting fact: A study by Zogby reveals that 85% of users prefer to interact with websites that verify the identity of all their users.

This new data redefines the relationship. The user wants a good experience, but they also want the transaction to feel safe. Can the security measures be an added bonus in the experience, therefore contributing to the feeling of security and trust in the user? Obviously, a process with excessive security measures will be perceived as complex. But eliminating them completely will diminish the experience, as it reduces trust, and trust is essential on the new digital scene.

The new challenge: redefining the relationship

Digital identity verification has advanced in balancing the UX + security formula. Increasingly automated data capturing, document authentication, and user verification systems through a selfie, are increasingly simple and intuitive, yet more secure.

Towards the end of the 1960s, Caroline—mother of John Sheperd-Barron, the inventor of the ATM—suggested a PIN-code of four digits instead of six, because it was easier to remember. She sensed the importance of finding a balance between security and ease, which today we call user experience. The fact that today PIN-code access is still one of the most widely used shows that ease is essential. But the need for security has grown, the same way that cyberattacks and their danger have grown.

So, the challenges are not over. The next challenge will be to establish a new relationship between UX and security, not a balance of forces, but a relationship of synergies and interactions that benefits both, and, ultimately, the relationship between the user and the entity.

Sources: Mitek Systems, Forbes