Web Design Notes: Make Sites Safe and Pretty
Your website should be more than just a pretty face. That said, it should also definitely be a pretty face. If no one ever notices the skin-deep beauty of your website, they will never come to appreciate any of its other, more enduring attributes. But beauty is more than skin deep. Eye-candy aesthetics are just one aspect of what makes a website beautiful.
Safety is a primary concern for any website. A venus flytrap is beautiful, but clearly unsafe. You don’t want your website to be a venus flytrap. Like beauty, there are many aspects to safety besides strong encryption. Here are a few aspects of safety that make your website more than a just pretty face:
Data Loss Prevention
Every website collects and stores a lot of user data, much of it very sensitive and dangerous in the wrong hands. Because of that, your website is a target. The more visible your site is, the bigger the target it becomes. Companies like TrendMicro make products that are specifically designed for data loss prevention. One such product is described this way:
With a lightweight plug-in, you can quickly and easily gain visibility and control of your sensitive data and prevent data loss via your endpoints, SaaS applications, messaging, cloud storage, and Web gateways.
Of course there is no single product that can guarantee 100% assurance that nothing bad will happen to your client’s data. But products like this should be a part of your company’s overall strategy to keep the data safe which your client has entrusted you with. Not even the federal government is able to keep consumer information completely safe. Government hacks seem to be on the rise. This is no reason to throw up your hands in defeat. It is a reason to use even better tools to protect client data.
Believe it or not, making your site more accessible to people with disabilities is one of the easiest things you can do to make your site both safer and more beautiful. If the font sizes on your site are too small for the people who use your site, they will make costly errors that will leave them frustrated and vulnerable.
There is more to accessibility than the size of type you use. It is also a matter of how easy it is to understand your site. Is it clear what the options are, and where to click to get the desired result? From disability.gov:
According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), “Web accessibility” means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, interact and contribute to the Web. W3C also states that Web accessibility should consider all disabilities that affect access to the Web, such as visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive and neurological disabilities. “Usability” means how easy something is to learn and use.
If users of your site have to get a third-party to help them input sensitive data, the inaccessibility of your site is compromising their safety. No one would consider a site beautiful or safe if they cannot easily access it.
These days, one of the biggest vectors of data leakage is through ad tech and advertising networks. The fact that your business model relies on ad-supported content is no excuse for letting advertisers run roughshod over your clients’ personal information.
To protect themselves from malicious ad tech, many users are turning to ad blockers. To combat this, many sites are requiring that ad blockers be turned off before the site can be accessed. Recently, Forbes forced readers to turn off ad blockers, and promptly served up malware when that consumer protection was removed.
The problem is that there is no longer a line between user information and advertising. Today, advertising is not about companies telling you about their products. It is about paying websites to tell advertisers about you. Websites that combine your personal data with their advertising are selling you out and putting you at risk. As a website, you need to sell advertising space, not your customer’s data.
A website can and should be both beautiful and safe. You know how to make it beautiful.
Be sure to make it safe by adding data loss prevention, accessibility, and the kind of ads that don’t compromise data security.