Scale back UX Friction in Safe Product Growth

In product improvement, seems to be usually find yourself getting all the eye. A satisfying UI is necessary, however UX is what makes or breaks your product.

As a product supervisor, I spend most of my time eager about the way to cut back friction all through the UX. By that I imply both decreasing the variety of steps an finish consumer should take to attain their objectives or decreasing the complexity of these steps. An e-commerce app that makes you undergo three safety measures to make a purchase order gained’t carry out in addition to an app that requires just one.

Nonetheless, low friction can’t come on the expense of safety for organizations that keep delicate buyer information, akin to monetary establishments and insurance coverage firms.

As a result of ease of use and private information safety are often at odds, discovering the precise stability might be tough. Right here’s the way to do it.

The Age-old Battle Between Safety and Comfort

For many years after the start of the bank card within the Fifties, issuers cautious of fraud required retailers to name them at any time when a transaction exceeded the “ground restrict”—the utmost quantity a cardholder might cost with out pre-authorization. That’s loads of friction for a shopper ready to purchase a brand new automobile or fridge. Consequently, when setting ground limits, banks and bank card firms needed to weigh their urge for food for threat towards their shoppers’ tolerance for inconvenience.

A buyer with a $10,000 credit score restrict in all probability has extra worth to a financial institution—and better expectations for service—than one with a $1,000 restrict. You would possibly resolve to boost the ground restrict for any such buyer to attenuate the friction they expertise. However what if these higher-value accounts are additionally most susceptible to fraud? You would possibly find yourself introducing a degree of threat that may do extra injury to your backside line than would the lack of a few of these clients.

Quick-forward to the digital age and this seesaw of competing calls for stays, albeit with fast-changing threats and less-patient shoppers. There’s no actual formulation to reconcile these calls for, so product managers engaged on software program and functions must consistently calibrate their UX to maintain friction and safety in stability.

Much less Fraud Doesn’t At all times Imply Extra Revenue

In most safe software program and functions, there are two units of shoppers that product managers should serve:

  1. The group that prioritizes the very best safety potential.
  2. The tip consumer who desires a seamless product UX.

A financial institution, for instance, would favor 100% safety towards fraud for a lot of causes, together with:

  • Buyer satisfaction.
  • Fraud loss discount.
  • Model popularity.
  • Cyberattack minimization.

Alternatively, the tip consumer has competing necessities: They need simple and fast entry to their account. That’s not going to occur if the financial institution’s UX is designed for 100% fraud safety.

As a substitute, the tip consumer will encounter excessive friction each time they use the app. For instance, after getting into a password, the consumer would possibly must enter a two-factor authentication code despatched to their cellphone, adopted by a biometric scan or a CAPTCHA problem. The ensuing lag time could lead on some customers to cut back their app utilization or, worse, search for a brand new financial institution. On this state of affairs, the financial institution may have saved cash on fraud losses however may have misplaced cash on its dwindling buyer base.

To complicate issues, completely different finish customers might have completely different thresholds for a way a lot friction they’ll tolerate earlier than searching for out one other service supplier.

An icon representing a bank is labeled with the text
The shopper’s wants and the consumer’s preferences are sometimes at odds.

Lock Down the Shopper’s Objectives, Prices, and Danger Tolerance

Now that we’ve established that trying to offer 100% fraud safety doesn’t make enterprise sense, we have to decide what does. Let’s begin with the financial institution’s sources: cash and folks.

First, establish the financial institution’s present fraud fee and the way a lot in losses it will probably take in. Additionally weigh the web financial savings it hopes to realize with this new product towards the price of growing and sustaining it. (It’s possible you’ll discover that fraud safety prices greater than fraud itself.)

Subsequent, determine what number of suspicious circumstances and “false positives” the financial institution’s employees can course of per day. False positives occur when the financial institution removes or restricts a consumer’s account because of a threat miscalculation. These false positives enhance friction for the consumer, drain financial institution workers’ time, and might finally injury the model’s popularity.

You possibly can start to scope your product when you’ve locked down what the financial institution can afford to spend or lose in cash and labor. With this info, you may decide which information factors to gather from finish customers to calculate their fraud threat rating in actual time.

Establish Which Information to Acquire From Finish Customers

Safe software program and functions confirm:

  • Who you’re. These are your behaviors, which embody issues like your login areas or mouse actions.
  • What you will have. These are the units which are registered to you or that you just use usually.
  • What you understand. This contains passwords, safety questions, birthdays, and different private info.

As soon as the software program collects this info, machine studying fashions use the inputs from every class to assign the consumer a fraud threat profile. Based mostly on this profile, a corporation can resolve whether or not to permit entry, deny entry, request additional authentication, prohibit performance, or any mixture of these choices.

As a product supervisor, it’s tempting to gather as a lot info as potential. Nonetheless, this isn’t all the time the perfect apply. That’s as a result of the extra info you acquire from every consumer, the extra time and sources it takes to calculate the chance rating on the again finish. This, in flip, will increase the lag time for the consumer, i.e., extra friction.

As a substitute, begin with the symptoms that appear to be the best signifiers of a consumer’s identification, akin to location, identified units, and passwords. Then, take into consideration the methods a malicious actor might circumvent these indicators. Subtle criminals might spoof a consumer’s location and system, and will have entry to passwords compromised via information leaks or malware assaults. To shut these loopholes, you may additionally analyze mouse actions or test to see if the consumer has made related purchases up to now.

Earlier than including a brand new indicator, weigh its influence on fraud prevention towards the upfront prices of including it to the product. You also needs to issue within the recurring labor and monetary prices that include extra calculations and information storage.

Keep in mind that discovering the precise set of indicators is an train in trial and error. The one method to actually decide the advantage of every indicator is so as to add and subtract every of them, monitoring each mixture’s influence in your fraud fee and consumer expertise for each the shopper and finish customers.

Embed With Shoppers to Vet Your Indicators

Whereas the shopper might prioritize fraud discount, usability for their very own workers (akin to fraud analysts) can also be necessary on the again finish. It’s due to this fact clever to make it possible for the info factors you propose to gather will assist and never hinder them.

A design pondering framework is a helpful method to merchandise that serve two consumer units. It’s human-centered slightly than problem-centered and asks designers to empathize with customers to allow them to think about their future wants. Design pondering can assist product managers develop a dynamic product that serves competing pursuits—on this case, safety and comfort.

Investing within the empathy stage means asking questions and embedding in your shopper’s on a regular basis workflow. That lets you interact with RFPs to forecast market shifts and see how the shopper’s information aligns with their real-time risk panorama. When you perceive these strategic and tactical challenges, you may start improvement.

Plan to spend as a lot time as potential together with your shopper through the improvement and testing phases. Whereas suggestions provides you with a way of the shopper’s want record, shadowing helps you establish miscommunications, information gaps, and design flaws that gained’t present up in self-reporting.

Shadowing is pretty easy if you happen to’re an in-house product supervisor sharing workplace house with fraud analysts. In the event you’re a guide or off-site employee, you’ll want to rearrange web site visits as usually as potential. If journey isn’t an choice, digital classes with display sharing are definitely worth the effort.

Test in weekly with fraud analysts as soon as your product is up and operating to make sure that the UX design is serving them, significantly as you launch new options: Why do they carry out duties in a sure order? What occurs once they click on a specific button? How do they react once they get a notification? What adjustments are they noticing of their day-to-day work?

Acquire Your Information

Information assortment expertise lets organizations leverage tons of of information factors to confirm a consumer’s identification. It additionally helps e-commerce websites and apps tailor a consumer’s expertise to their demographic profile. A consumer who suits a sure profile may even get customized offers or set off automated help.

So how does this work in safety functions?

  • Internet browsers: Every time a consumer navigates to a protected web site in a browser, embedded JavaScript “collectors” collect figuring out info. This might embody information factors like location, system particulars, and mouse actions.
  • Native apps: Native apps are designed for a particular system platform, akin to iOS or Android. When accessing a service from a cell system, these apps use software program improvement kits (SDKs) to gather figuring out info, which could embody finger faucets and swipes as an alternative of mouse actions.

Your machine studying fashions will then assign a fraud threat rating based mostly on the general sample these information factors type. If the chance rating is above common, it is smart to introduce extra friction within the type of two-factor authentication or safety questions. Nonetheless, if too a lot of your customers are triggering further verification steps, it is perhaps time to rethink your threat threshold or information assortment technique.

Hold Lowering Finish-user Friction

As soon as your product is operating, maintain observe of finish customers’ complaints logged with name facilities or via app shops to find ache factors and options for enchancment. Even the perfect pre-launch testing gained’t catch each friction level, and new working techniques and system releases could cause sudden issues that decelerate finish customers.

For companies constructed on e-commerce, the prices of those slowdowns are plain to see. In 2022, the Baymard Institute estimated that 17% of avoidable cart abandonments had been because of an excessively lengthy or sophisticated checkout course of; an extra 18% of respondents blamed an absence of belief within the safety of their bank card info. Baymard estimates that sluggish checkout and lack of belief in web site safety had been amongst a set of things that contributed to $260 billion in misplaced gross sales throughout the US and EU. That presents an unbelievable alternative for e-commerce product managers to rethink their point-of-sale options. However irrespective of your trade, decreasing consumer friction and guaranteeing confidence in your information safety ought to be an ongoing apply that may yield happier clients and main enterprise improvements.

A bar graph showing reasons for preventable cart abandonments during checkout. Values include: Additional costs too high, 48%; Account creation required, 24%; Delivery too slow, 22%; Site security feels untrustworthy, 18%; Checkout too complicated, 17%; Total cost unclear, 16%; Website errors, 13%; Return policy too stringent, 12%; Payment methods limited, 9%; Card declined, 4%.
Sophisticated checkout processes and lack of belief in web site safety accounted for 35% of avoidable cart abandonments in 2022.

Listed here are two examples of profitable friction discount in safe product improvement:


Within the late Nineteen Nineties, Visa and Mastercard teamed as much as create the 3D safe funds (3DS) safety protocol. Launched in 2001, the unique protocol required all customers to register their playing cards with 3DS and log in at every checkout with a devoted 3DS password. If a consumer couldn’t bear in mind their 3DS password, they had been required to retrieve or reset it earlier than finishing their buy. In a later launch, card issuers had the choice of changing the oft-forgotten static password with a dynamic one-time password (OTP). Nonetheless, the additional login step continued to hinder the checkout course of.

The 3DS builders took word of this lingering friction and, in 2016, launched 3DS 2.0, which incorporates an SDK part that permits functions to embed the 3DS ingredient into their code. 3DS 2.0 is best suited to cell transactions and analyzes extra information factors to yield a extra correct threat evaluation. Consequently, solely a small proportion of 3DS 2.0 customers must take an additional authentication step, usually within the type of an OTP.

Image comparing the old and new 3DS processes. The original 3DS required all shoppers to authenticate their identities with static passwords, often entered in a pop-up window or redirect site. The 3DS 2.0 process shows more  authentication steps happening automatically and in parallel with the shopper's checkout process, rather than slowing it down. These authentication steps include icons representing buyer location, devices, shopping history, current purchase, time zone, and biometrics.
3DS 2.0 makes use of passive authentication options that free most buyers from further steps throughout checkout.


3DS 2.0 is an instance of decreasing product friction via iteration. However you can even cut back friction at an trade degree by introducing disruptive merchandise.

Uber’s enterprise mannequin is constructed on subtracting friction from a conventional taxi experience. With Uber, there’s no extra ready on maintain with a cab service or rummaging via your pockets on the finish of your journey.

A seamless cost course of was key to the corporate’s early success, however it got here with some dangers. Every time Uber mechanically processes a transaction on a bank card saved in its app, it dangers a chargeback (by which a cardholder disputes a transaction and receives a refund).

Nonetheless, Uber calculated that the price of these potential chargebacks was definitely worth the alternative to optimize the consumer expertise. If a consumer needed to dig out a bank card or enter a password every time they known as for a experience, the entire enterprise might need failed. As a substitute, Uber accepted threat over friction and the service took off.

In each of those examples, a user-centered product administration method that additionally weighed safety and threat resulted in groundbreaking and worthwhile improvements.

The Finest Upkeep Is a Good Offense

Frauds need to keep one step forward of product groups. Whereas different forms of improvement can react to shifting necessities, safe software program initiatives must anticipate them. This implies product managers should learn trade literature and leverage information from a number of shoppers to study from previous safety breaches and profitable deflections.

Your product crew ought to present common risk panorama stories and cross-reference them together with your shopper’s experiences and necessities. Not each new risk will warrant a product replace. Perhaps your crew has recognized a brand new sort of assault that your UX doesn’t shield towards, however a dialogue together with your shopper reveals that it isn’t related to their risk surroundings: One banking shopper in South Africa could also be coping with a rash of SIM-swap fraud, whereas one other in New York is perhaps experiencing extra assaults from hackers utilizing VPNs. Generally, it wouldn’t be cost-effective—and would introduce pointless UX friction—to guard each banks from each forms of fraud.

As a product supervisor, your function requires consistently adjusting options to make sure that you aren’t buying and selling safety for a pleasant consumer expertise or vice versa. And when you’ll want a number of information to actually perceive your shoppers’ and finish customers’ wants, the remainder of this balancing act is a mix of trial, error, and artwork.