Category Archives: UX

Security certificates – Google cares, so should you

Site security and online privacy has, in recent years, become more of a concern. With websites needing to gain the trust of its visitors and to ensure a users every move is not being monitored without them being made aware is all part of a users experience. Without this experience your website and your brand could be deeply impacted.

However, recent changes to Google Chrome web browser, changes to the law and the introduction of GDPR data regulations now means this area of concern takes on greater importance.

Whats changed?
The latest version of Google’s Chrome web browser alerts users when they visit a web page that collect personal data. The warning states that the website is ‘not secure’ and makes it look like there is a problem with the security of a website. This could damage credibility and trust for many website visitors if they think their information can be stolen and misused.

As well as this the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply from May 2018. The GDPR is a legal framework which websites must adhere to. This includes security of personal data.

What is a security certificate (SSL)?
SSL, which stands for Secure Socket Layer, is an encryption technology used to create a secure connection between a web server and a user’s web browser.

When a website has an SSL certificate installed on the server, a small padlock icon is displayed to the left of a website URL in the browser and https will appear as well before the url. SSL certificates are used to secure data transfers, credit card transactions, logins and other personal information. They provide security to customers and make visitors more likely to stay on a website for longer periods of time.

So why bother?

It’s safer site visitors
HTTPS keeps the information sent between the browser and the user secured. The SSL encryption layer prevents data attacks by stopping unwanted users from intercepting data that is passing between the two. This is especially crucial to prevent for e-commerce websites where credit card details are entered, or for websites that allow account creation and store sensitive information.

Website visitors want to know that the information they are sending is secured. Any issues with data security can impact your brand negatively.

Improves search rankings
Google has, for many years, encouraged site owners to improve a users experience especially in regards to data. Since 2015, Google will search for and index HTTPS URLs before HTTP URLs. By June 2016 Moz found that over 32% of page 1 Google results are using the HTTPS protocol which is a big increase since being first announced by Google. It is clear that Google now place weight behind websites that have a security certificate and in terms of competetition, every little helps.

No more nasty warnings
Since Google are now reacting to sites without an SSL, it’s hard not to miss the warnings non-secure websites are throwing up. Any site visitor that sees a site marked as ‘insecure’ will quickly run away. For reputation, trust and user experience alone it’s enough of a reason to implement one.

Is User Experience an ‘added extra’?

I remember a boss of mind telling me, “I know you’re in to the whole UX Design thing, but it’s just not what we do as company, we aren’t geared up for it”.

If you are any kind of web development-aware person, you are probably think, really? Hard to believe, that in this day and age, people believe UX Design is some kind of luxury, some sort of add on, like DAB Radio for a car. That success can be achieved without this new fancy fad.

Ah well that depends on your idea of success, doesn’t it? Bashing out a good looking site in as quick a time as possible is many peoples goals. sadly these people are misguided. You see the web has matured, as has it’s users. We are no longer a generation that is sucked in by cheap promises and sites which drama s much info as possible in front of the user.

A generation has grown up learning how to block off certain signals on websites and applications. They know the setup of the average site and use these common factors to navigate their way across the web. Old, cheap tricks no longer have an effect. The biggest indicator of this is how SEO has been forced to grow up and get smarter but the all knowing Google. Having switched on to the fact SEO specialists were finding holes in the search algorithm and exploiting them for search rankings, Google have stepped up its intelligence in finding and indexing pages with correct practice. Including proper syntax, context and content. The ‘field of dreams’ idea is over (if you build it they will come… You haven’t seen Field of Dreams? Loser).

Well… Not entirely, it would read something more like, if you build it intelligently, they will come. What I mean is, once upon a time, you would build a site and then consider SEO and usability as separate areas. Today they have to be seen as one and be thought of from the word go.

For instance, Google is now paying attention to how long a user is spending on your site. A well structured site, that is easy to use = attention and retention. A site that makes no sense and doesn’t have any targets or aims will fall flat.

User experience is in fact at the very heart of a Website.

Research the user, understand their needs, set some goals, set information priority and set a pathway that achieves this in the most painless way as possible. Better to have an aesthetically challenged site that was easy for the user to use then a good looking site that doesn’t hit its aims and objectives.

And you see thats normally where I find Designers and Web guys that care about UX differ. A designer thinks a good looking site is what matters, when in reality it goes:
1) Content
2) User Experience
3) Aesthetics

Design is last on the list! How a user interacts with your site is most important. I’ve lost count of the times a designer has wanted to add something to my wireframe because he “saw it on another site and it looks cool”.

For a website, user experience is everything. With the user a site useless. It is core to every site.