Designing with online privacy best practices, and keeping best user privacy practices in mind is seriously important in this day and age. In the last half-century, unprecedented changes have completely changed the way we work and live. Technology has taken over much of what we do, and that includes how we work and what we work on. The internet now is accessed by over 5 billion people worldwide, and hundreds of millions of people rely on the internet’s connectivity for not just work, but fundamental and existential things. However, as much as the internet can provide, it can also taketh away, as they say. Simply opening up a business online, not to mention running one, has become a complex endeavor indeed in this day and age. Why you may ask?
Well, simply because one must keep cybersecurity and privacy in mind. Making money online is the dream for many, yes, however, the learning curve and the resources required also increase the more complex our environment and world become. This is particularly true when one thinks about the plethora of regulations and laws that are present nowadays. There are such strict and daunting laws and regulations out there today that most would be scared of any business venture online. This is exactly why web developers, web designers, and webmasters of all sorts are looking out for designing with user privacy practices in mind these days.
The top factors to remember in this case, regarding web design, are that cybersecurity and user privacy needs to be kept in check and considered at all times. This is why we need to understand what user online privacy is, and what the best practices are when it comes to online design.
What is Online Privacy?
Online privacy is quite a complex subject that requires quite a bit of background knowledge on the subject. It is not only a complicated topic in terms of the technicalities but the social, ethical,l and moral implications as well. Simply put, privacy is what you and I know it to be. Privacy is a God-given right and responsibility that we must uphold. At its simplest, the concept of privacy is respecting the private environment of others, as well as your own. Now, we mentioned how technology has taken over our lives. In this regard, what is meant by privacy is online privacy (not to mention cybersecurity). Online privacy is everyone’s right to their data privacy, which is also a human right as stated by the UN charter.
What Web Designers Need to Look Out For
When it comes to privacy and designing for the web, things tend to get complex. For one, there are several privacy and cybersecurity frameworks that web designers, or the companies that hire them, need to comply with. The largest elephant in the room is, of course, the GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation sanctioned by the European Union. This regulation has come to dominate and control most of the business landscape in the past few years. Secondly, it is imperative that, when designing, web designers understand the risk of the cybersecurity landscape. This means understanding that multiple threats are out there, a.k.a cybercrime, malicious software, a plethora of scams, and other issues. You need to have a cast-iron designing hand in these tumultuous times.
You may be wondering, what kind of industries harbor designers that need to look out for these facets? This includes sectors such as UX and UI designers, for instance. It also includes designers that work in what is known as the backend, or under the hood of the website where codes and instructions reside. UX is short for user experience, while UI is short for user interface design. Today, a web designer is no longer a visual appendage but affects the product itself. Such is the way of the internet. As a result, designers need to comply with regulations such as the CCPA, GDPR, HIPAA, you name it, it’s out there. Secondly, any company worth it’s salt must retain its customer relationships. This means taking care that everything is done professionally. Let’s dive deeper into that. Staying professional these days in an extremely saturated and competitive market space means considering privacy and data protection at every corner of the marketing and sales processes.
In the 1990s, a framework known as the Privacy by Design framework was created. This framework included several principles that were to embed privacy into the design. Of course, the 1990s were when the internet was just an infant and it was a time when the vast majority of the world did not have access to it yet. Any of you that remember the 1990s surely remember that internet speeds back then were beyond painfully slow, if available at all. However, this concept of privacy by design survives to this day. It defines how privacy must be built into the design from the ground up, by default. It also defines how personal data must be secured properly and destroyed when it is no longer needed as defined by international regulations and standards. Also, think about what a designer needs to do. He or she needs to be able to build a website that is smooth, functional, and caters to customers the way they want. All of this plus complying with any outstanding regulations and laws which constantly crop up and/or change.
Finally, aside from privacy alone, one must think about cybersecurity. Cybersecurity defines the protection of all digital assets. This means systems and devices connected to these systems. These systems and devices (including the website itself) are under constant threat. This concept particularly applies to all internet-connected systems, as these are the most vulnerable to internet crime (cybercrime/hacking/sabotage), scams, and more. Therefore, sometimes security teams (which include cybersecurity professionals) must cooperate with other layers in the company which includes, of course, web designers and developers themselves. Therefore, designing a great website that will one day be worth millions of dollars or more is a huge task.