Radar Hill Blog

Web Usability vs. Web Security

Jakob notes that humans cannot keep much information in their short term memories, especially pieces of data relating to computers and websites. Stock photo of a male-female couple with shopping bagsThough his suggestions for web developers generally make sense, and he supports his arguments, one idea doesn’t:

“Instead of using coupon codes, encode offers in special links embedded in your email newsletters and automatically transfer the coupon to the user’s shopping cart….”

The problem with embedding the coupon code is that this is a technique phishing scams use. From a web security point of view, instead of clicking links within a newsletter, it is safest to open a browser and go directly to the website, either by typing in the www… address or using one’s bookmarks/favorites. Then proceed to log in or make a purchase.

One should never follow the links in a newsletter, especially in which any financial information is involved, such as a purchase.

From the usability perspective embedding a coupon code means people don’t have to remember it, but from a security perspective it is a bad idea. It would be similar to Jakob saying ‘use the same username and password for ALL your accounts’. Again, a bad idea.

Here is Jakob’s article on Short-Term Memory and Web Usability

Here is some advice on How to Avoid Phishing Scams

About Shawn

Co-owner and one of the founders of Radar Hill, Shawn is an award-winning public speaker. He loves working with business owners, and tries to keep up with marketing trends.
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