As companies worked to establish secure connections for the newly remote workforce, the demand for security products skyrocketed. This presents an opportunity for security software companies, but in order to capitalize on this new demand, they must focus on user experience (UX) to create effective products users will want to and will continue to use.
Cyber-attacks were so common last year that 2020 was dubbed the year of the ‘cyber pandemic’. COVID-19 has revealed flaws in major platforms worldwide, from Zoom to MGM to the World Health Organization, which had already registered a five-fold rise in cyber-attacks since the pandemic began in April. In December, it was revealed that hackers had gained access to networks at the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees the US nuclear arsenal. This year, cybercrime losses from these forms of attacks are estimated to total US$6 trillion in the United States.
People who design security systems are usually more concerned about what the product will do than about who will use it. Consumers and business users will no longer embrace mediocre UX in 2021. They want and expect the same user-friendly experience from software products as they do from their mobile phones. This is particularly true for users of the younger generation.
The best products would be those that can be used intuitively, not those with the most functionality or the best performance statistics. Customers may not purchase a product if it is not user-friendly. They may not renew it after purchasing it because it is not widely used. Competition is fierce in the cybersecurity industry, as it is in most other technology industries. How can these businesses effectively distinguish themselves from up to 30 competitors in each segment?
Digital products are starting to move towards making the user experience the product. Innovative businesses that recognize this are increasingly gaining business from legacy companies.
When it comes to prioritizing UX, there are three things to keep in mind:
- Leadership should be on board – UX isn’t an afterthought, nor is it a given; it should be ingrained in the company’s culture. UX cannot be a bottom-up focus in order for this to happen. It must begin with the company’s leadership. When leaders emphasize user experience, the rest of the organization will follow suit.
- User experience should be a company-wide initiative – Adoption is a tech company’s biggest obstacle, and the truth is that selling an easy-to-use product is easier. Although some businesses value cross-functional collaboration and UX support, there is still a long way to go.
Marketing departments, for example, have a unique understanding of what customers want; they should not be treated as afterthoughts during the development process. Developers should not be in charge of deciding what users want or need; this reduces productivity and slows development. UX should ideally be its own department, or at the very least, a member of the product team that can collaborate with other departments.
- Seek out customer feedback – Businesses must always seek out consumer input. Great digital products are constantly being improved; they are never done. UX and product teams should focus on leveraging customer feedback to guide their next update.
The combination of functionality and ease of use is essential for a truly great product. This hasn’t always been the case in the field of cybersecurity. With the global cybersecurity market predicted to rise 10% year on year to US$326 billion by 2027, the competition is expected to heat up even further. The difference between those who succeed and those who fall will be determined by user experience.