Integrating Cybersecurity in UX design

February 27, 2023  |  Devin Morrissey

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Integrating Cybersecurity in UX design

The digital landscape has ensured a wider range of businesses has access to a truly global marketplace. On one hand, this helps bolster a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. However, it also means there is a significant amount of competition. If your company’s website or mobile application doesn’t provide a stellar user experience (UX), consumers are able and willing to go elsewhere.

Yet, in the online environment, UX is not your only consideration. There are various threats your business and consumers face from cyber criminals. Therefore, when developing your online tools, you need to adopt effective protections. Unfortunately, many businesses struggle with implementing strong security that doesn’t also disrupt the UX.

Your best approach here is usually to integrate cybersecurity with UX design. So, let’s explore why and how you can achieve this.

How are UX and Cybersecurity related?

One of the mistakes too many businesses make is assuming that UX and cybersecurity are separate aspects of the digital infrastructure. They can certainly have independent intentions to an extent with different goals and actions to achieve these goals. Yet, understanding how they are closely related is the first step to effective integration.

In some ways one can’t — or, at least, shouldn’t — exist without the other. A good example of this is the application of web design in high-stakes sectors, like telehealth care. There are two core types of telehealth services; asynchronous care and synchronous (live) care. While there is a difference here in how patients interact with the medical professional, both types involve the collection and storage of sensitive data. It’s certainly important from a UX perspective to make both asynchronous and live processes as simple and convenient as possible for patients. Yet, this simplicity shouldn’t sacrifice the security of the data.

Clear and strong security protocols give consumers confidence in the system and the company they’re interacting with. This applies to not just healthcare industries but also eCommerce, education, and supply chain sectors, among others. Similarly, consumers may be more likely to adopt more secure behaviors if they can see how it feeds into the convenience and enjoyment of their experience. This means that the UX development process must involve security considerations from the ground up, rather than as an afterthought.

How can you plan effectively?

As with any project, planning is essential to the successful integration of cybersecurity and UX design. An improvisatory approach that involves tacking security or UX elements onto your site or app doesn’t result in a strong development. Wherever possible, your best route is to bring both the UX departments and cybersecurity professionals together in the planning process from the outset. Each department will have insights into one another’s challenges that benefit the project as a whole.

Another key part of your planning process is researching and analyzing your users’ behavior concerning the types of online tools you’re developing. Work with business analytics professionals to understand in what ways security factors into your target demographic’s preferred online experiences. Review what the common security behavior challenges are with your consumers and what experiential elements prevent them from implementing safe actions. This then enables you to create the most apt UX and security arrangements to meet your consumers’ needs.

Importantly, your team needs to plan with balance in mind. They need to make certain that as far as possible, security doesn’t interfere with UX and vice versa. For instance, you may be able to design multiple layers of encryption that require minimal user interaction to activate. Whatever you approach, you must build thorough testing into the planning process. This shouldn’t just be to review efficacy and strength, but also to establish whether there are imbalances that need to be corrected.

What tools can you use?

You should bear in mind that integrating UX and cybersecurity isn’t just a case of developing a unique site or app. Finding this balance is a challenge that businesses have been seeking to address throughout the rise of our digital landscape. This means that there are some existing tools that you can incorporate into your more tailored approach.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly popular here. Even small businesses can access AI tools that take care of many elements of a website and mobile application development. These tools not only save companies time in coding, but they can also make more secure sites by mitigating the potential for human error. Indeed, AI-driven security monitoring software can scan networks in real-time, responding to threats quickly and effectively without disturbing the user experience.

Aside from AI, adopting a single sign-in, multi-factor authentication is a common tool to adopt. This approach provides maximum security by requiring users to authenticate using more than one device. However, it's important not to disrupt the user flow by ensuring this is a one-time action that allows them to access various aspects of your online space. You should require further authentication only when they navigate away from the site, utilize a new device, or attempt purchases over a certain threshold.


Integrating UX and cybersecurity is not always easy. It’s important to understand that these elements need to coexist to achieve the most positive outcomes. From here, thorough planning that involves collaboration from both security and UX professionals is key to achieving a good balance. Remember that tools like AI and multi-factor authentication can bolster your ability to create a safe service that users enjoy interacting with.

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Tags: ux, ease of use

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