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

As a product supervisor, I spend most of my time fascinated with easy methods to scale back friction all through the UX. By that I imply both lowering the variety of steps an finish person should take to realize their objectives or lowering the complexity of these steps. An e-commerce app that makes you undergo three safety measures to make a purchase order received’t carry out in addition to an app that requires just one.

Nevertheless, low friction can’t come on the expense of safety for organizations that preserve delicate buyer knowledge, equivalent to monetary establishments and insurance coverage firms.

As a result of ease of use and private knowledge safety are often at odds, discovering the correct steadiness may be difficult. Right here’s easy methods to do it.

The Age-old Battle Between Safety and Comfort

For many years after the delivery of the bank card within the Nineteen Fifties, issuers cautious of fraud required retailers to name them every time a transaction exceeded the “ground restrict”—the utmost quantity a cardholder may cost with out pre-authorization. That’s loads of friction for a client ready to purchase a brand new automobile or fridge. Because of this, when setting ground limits, banks and bank card firms needed to weigh their urge for food for danger towards their customers’ 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 lift the ground restrict for one of these 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 danger that will do extra harm to your backside line than would the lack of a few of these prospects.

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

Much less Fraud Doesn’t All the time Imply Extra Revenue

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

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

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

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

However, the tip person 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 person will encounter excessive friction each time they use the app. For instance, after getting into a password, the person 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 may lead some customers to scale back their app utilization or, worse, search for a brand new financial institution. On this state of affairs, the financial institution can have saved cash on fraud losses however can have misplaced cash on its dwindling buyer base.

To complicate issues, totally different finish customers could have totally different thresholds for a way a lot friction they’ll tolerate earlier than in search of out one other service supplier.

An icon representing a bank is labeled with the text "The bank wants a secure app." An icon displaying a mobile phone is labeled with the text "The user wants a seamless experience."
The consumer’s wants and the person’s preferences are sometimes at odds.

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

Now that we’ve established that trying to supply 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 other people.

First, determine the financial institution’s present fraud charge and the way a lot in losses it could actually take in. Additionally weigh the online financial savings it hopes to achieve with this new product towards the price of growing and sustaining it. (You could 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 person’s account as a consequence of a danger miscalculation. These false positives improve friction for the person, drain financial institution staff’ time, and might finally harm the model’s status.

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 data, you possibly can decide which knowledge factors to gather from finish customers to calculate their fraud danger rating in actual time.

Determine Which Knowledge to Gather From Finish Customers

Safe software program and purposes confirm:

  • Who you might be. These are your behaviors, which embody issues like your login areas or mouse actions.
  • What you have got. These are the units which can be registered to you or that you just use usually.
  • What you understand. This consists of passwords, safety questions, birthdays, and different private data.

As soon as the software program collects this data, machine studying fashions use the inputs from every class to assign the person a fraud danger profile. Primarily based on this profile, a company 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 data as potential. Nevertheless, this isn’t at all times the most effective observe. That’s as a result of the extra data you accumulate from every person, the extra time and sources it takes to calculate the danger rating on the again finish. This, in flip, will increase the lag time for the person, i.e., extra friction.

As a substitute, begin with the symptoms that appear to be the best signifiers of a person’s id, equivalent to location, recognized units, and passwords. Then, take into consideration the methods a malicious actor may circumvent these indicators. Refined criminals may spoof a person’s location and machine, and should have entry to passwords compromised by means of knowledge leaks or malware assaults. To shut these loopholes, you may also analyze mouse actions or test to see if the person has made related purchases previously.

Earlier than including a brand new indicator, weigh its affect 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 further calculations and knowledge storage.

Do not forget that discovering the correct set of indicators is an train in trial and error. The one method to actually decide the good thing about every indicator is so as to add and subtract every of them, monitoring each mixture’s affect in your fraud charge and person expertise for each the consumer and finish customers.

Embed With Shoppers to Vet Your Indicators

Whereas the consumer could prioritize fraud discount, usability for their very own staff (equivalent to fraud analysts) can be vital on the again finish. It’s subsequently smart to guarantee that 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 person 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 will help 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 consumer’s on a regular basis workflow. That permits you to interact with RFPs to forecast market shifts and see how the consumer’s knowledge aligns with their real-time menace panorama. When you perceive these strategic and tactical challenges, you possibly can start growth.

Plan to spend as a lot time as potential along with your consumer through the growth and testing phases. Whereas suggestions will provide you with a way of the consumer’s want checklist, shadowing helps you determine miscommunications, information gaps, and design flaws that received’t present up in self-reporting.

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

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

Gather Your Knowledge

Knowledge assortment expertise lets organizations leverage a whole bunch of knowledge factors to confirm a person’s id. It additionally helps e-commerce websites and apps tailor a person’s expertise to their demographic profile. A person who suits a sure profile may even get customized offers or set off automated help.

So how does this work in safety purposes?

  • Net browsers: Every time a person navigates to a protected website in a browser, embedded JavaScript “collectors” collect figuring out data. This might embody knowledge factors like location, machine particulars, and mouse actions.
  • Native apps: Native apps are designed for a particular machine platform, equivalent to iOS or Android. When accessing a service from a cellular machine, these apps use software program growth kits (SDKs) to gather figuring out data, which could embody finger faucets and swipes as a substitute of mouse actions.

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

Hold Lowering Finish-user Friction

As soon as your product is working, hold observe of finish customers’ complaints logged with name facilities or by means of app shops to find ache factors and strategies for enchancment. Even the most effective pre-launch testing received’t catch each friction level, and new working techniques and machine releases may cause sudden problems 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 have been as a consequence of an excessively lengthy or difficult checkout course of; an extra 18% of respondents blamed a scarcity of belief within the safety of their bank card data. Baymard estimates that gradual checkout and lack of belief in website safety have 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, lowering person friction and guaranteeing confidence in your knowledge safety needs to be an ongoing observe that may yield happier prospects 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%.
Difficult checkout processes and lack of belief in website safety accounted for 35% of avoidable cart abandonments in 2022.

Listed below are two examples of profitable friction discount in safe product growth:


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 person couldn’t bear in mind their 3DS password, they have 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). Nevertheless, 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 element that enables purposes to embed the 3DS factor into their code. 3DS 2.0 is best suited to cellular transactions and analyzes extra knowledge factors to yield a extra correct danger evaluation. Because of this, 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 consumers from further steps throughout checkout.


3DS 2.0 is an instance of lowering product friction by means of iteration. However you can even scale back friction at an trade degree by introducing disruptive merchandise.

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

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

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

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

The Greatest Upkeep Is a Good Offense

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

Your product staff ought to present common menace panorama reviews and cross-reference them along with your consumer’s experiences and necessities. Not each new menace will warrant a product replace. Possibly your staff has recognized a brand new kind of assault that your UX doesn’t defend towards, however a dialogue along with your consumer reveals that it isn’t related to their menace atmosphere: One banking consumer 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. Normally, it wouldn’t be cost-effective—and would introduce pointless UX friction—to guard each banks from each varieties of fraud.

As a product supervisor, your position requires continually adjusting options to make sure that you aren’t buying and selling safety for a pleasant person expertise or vice versa. And whilst you’ll want numerous knowledge to really perceive your shoppers’ and finish customers’ wants, the remainder of this balancing act is a mix of trial, error, and artwork.

Additional Studying on the Toptal Product Weblog:

Find out how to Cut back UX Friction in Safe Product Improvement