User Experience and Security Go Hand in Hand

User experience had become increasingly more important as web design has expanded with technological advances and consumer tastes. In the past, simply presenting information in a readable format was sufficient enough – now, presentation of information and the overall ease of use of a website is key.

However, security also plays a significant role in the overall user experience. The “user experience” refers to how the user feels while using the website, not just the ease of navigation or purchasing ability and it’s those very emotions that drive users to take action or, conversely, feel uneasy about potential security concerns. A study published this past year showed that 70% of mobile purchasers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I am wary of having my personal credit card information hacked using my mobile phone”. That is a large swath of users that need to know their experience on a company’s website won’t be marred by a potential attack, and plays right into a positive or negative user experience.

As users are becoming more aware of cyber security risks, how secure a site seems could be the difference between a verified lead or lost opportunity. Keeping this in mind when viewing users is crucial – make it as simple as possible for them to know that the site they are using will keep their information secure:

  • The simplest way for us to do this is with SSL certificates – which show that any information that is transferred through your website in encrypted.
  • If consumers are going to be making transactions of any kind on your website, using protected payment gateways like Braintree or Paypal shows that, combined with a well-recognized brand, their purchases will be protected.
  • Finally, official security “badges” or getting approved by third party overseers like Google Trusted Store can also help your website look the part.

Overall, these are just small steps to take in order to increase your website’s security, therefore allowing your site’s visitors to feel more at ease and have a positive user experience. How your organization’s cyber security plan is prioritized is a decision that should be made with both external and internal help – having a second opinion opens up additional avenues of exploration, and will ultimately assist in the ultimate cyber security protection plan for both your clients and organization.

Dark Horse Presidential Candidate Runs on Cybersecurity Platform

Is cybersecurity the most important issue in the upcoming Presidential election? One candidate certainly thinks so, and he’s banking on it being his ticket into the oval office.

Most people have heard his name, but may not know a whole lot about him – at least not the good parts. John McAfee is the former CEO of McAfee Associates, the company most well known for their McAfee Security software that is so prevalent in computers around the globe.

McAfee’s background as a security expert makes him the prime candidate to lead the Cyber Party into the 2016 Presidential election. Yes, you heard that right, the Cyber Party – a third party political group that is running on one primary premise – cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity has been a hot button topic the last several years as many companies and government organizations along with their customers and employees have been the victim of malicious cyber attacks costing millions of dollars and big ding to the reputation of each.

As the “cyber” generation continues to grow and we do most of, if not not all, our communicating, shopping, and more online cybersecurity has become one of the most important topics in mainstream conversation, yet is largely ignored in the political spectrum. Mr. McAfee hopes to change that in 2016.

One thing McAfee will have to face is questions about his checkered past. After selling his company to Intel McAfee went to Belize where his neighbor turned up dead, after which McAfee fled the country. He was eventually arrested in Guatemala and deported back to the United States. He was never officially charged in the crime.

Despite his troubles it’s difficult to deny McAfee’s expertise in the cybersecurity arena and you certainly can’t ignore his thoughts on the future and technology, “The next war, I truly believe, will be a cyber war, and it will be devastating. And the Chinese are so far ahead of us.”

He even goes as far as saying the next President of the United States has to be in expert in technology to understand the changing landscape, “Our leadership is illiterate when it comes to technology…Would you vote for a president who said, ‘I can’t read or write, but I have advisers who can explain words to me?’ You wouldn’t.”

McAfee says he believes the U.S. Government is far behind corporate America when it comes to cybersecurity and that recent attacks from China should have prompted a declaration of cyber war, instead the President asked China to agree to a hacking truce of sorts. He says this was due in part because the U.S. doesn’t have the expertise in government to win a cyber war even if there was one.

McAfee becoming President is certainly an interesting proposition even if it is a relative pipe dream. He, of course, trails heavily in any polling, and it’s unlikely most Americans will even know he’s running when they go to the voting booth next fall, however, his candidacy does raise some interesting debate about what the Presidents of the future should know.

Do we need a President who understands the cyber landscape and the ins and outs of cybersecurity? Can we have a President who knows enough, but relies on experts in his staff? Can the government even obtain enough cybersecurity talent to keep attacks at bay?

Of course, John McAfee will not be the next President of the United States, but he certainly brings up some interesting points. Worst case scenario for Mr. McAfee is he loses the election, but gets people in government talking in more detail about what we need to accomplish in the realm of cybersecurity, and that, for all intents and purposes, may be his goal in the end.

*portions of this article referenced from NBC News

Could HTML6 Be The Death of Javascript?

Page load is considered an important factor when it comes to website bounce and exit rates, as well as user trust, and search engine rankings. The less time it takes for your web pages to load, the better the experience is for the user. This creates a trust between the user and the website and keeps them coming back, or engaging more frequently. So, what can we do to decrease load times even more? There has been a proposal floating around the ‘interwebs’ these last several days that outlines a theory for faster page loads times that has many web gurus intrigued.

Bobby Mozumber is the Editor in Chief at FutureClaw, a culture magazine that features the latest in music, fashion, and art, has come up with a plan of his own. In a proposal to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Mozumber states:

“There’s a standard design pattern emerging via all the front-end javascript frameworks where content is loaded dynamically via JSON APIs. This is the single-page app web design pattern. Everyone’s into it because the responsiveness is so much better than loading a full page – 10-50ms with a clean API load vs. 300-1500ms for a full HTML page load.

Since this is so common now, can we implement this directly in the browsers via HTML so users can dynamically run single-page apps without Javascript?”

A novel idea indeed. Javascript has become the standard for dynamic web page content with JSON and Angular.js. Javascript is used for any number of functions from simply “Back to top” buttons to dynamic page sorting. The possibilities are essentially endless. The issue brought up here is that page load times increase with the consistent use of Javascript. A script must load before the page can be loaded or seen in the browser. While by most speed standards a 4-5 second load time is not all that bad, it can mean the difference between a user sticking around or going to another websites. Of course, some of this depends on a user’s Internet connection, but considering high-speed Internet is more widely available now than ever before it leads many to believe page load is more important now than ever.

Mozumber shows an example of what the code on a web page would look like, you can see the full letter and example here. He goes on to say afterwards:

“Clicking on a link loads JSON/XML data into a new internal data structure. This is separate from the DOM. I have the initial XML fixtures in the HEAD section here, but these fixtures can be in an external link, or implicitly defined by default within the BODY elements that contain references to models. The data structure can be defined implicitly like in this example via XML/JSON fixtures, or perhaps explicitly by SQL statements.

The text sections have H1 and SPAN tags with a new MODEL attribute that defines the content in it based on the loaded data. This format is declarative, but can approach SQL statement complexity. You don’t need to have defined controller/view structures, but I did in this example.”

In his closing line, he begs the question, “What do you think about this? I think something like this could eliminate a lot of Javascript.. These javascript frameworks are all trying to do this, but none of them do it easily and they’re always being redesigned.”

Which brings us back to our initial inquiry. Could a new HTML format kill off the current Javascript model? Well, not likely. At least not anytime soon. It has been noted that W3C is not currently working on any new or extended version of HTML, which some would refer to as HTML6. At this point it’s a theory, a question for us to ponder. Could something like this change the way we think about developing and designing web pages? Will the page load problem be more easily solved than we thought? Only time will tell, but it certainly starts an interesting conversation.