By Amanda Awange

Striking a Balance: User Control, Conversion Rates, and the Evolution of Digital Data Services

We’re in the midst of a market-defining shift in the fast-paced world of digital data services. Traditionally, a core focus has been on minimising clicks, often at the expense of user control. But as new tech like digital identity and “wallets” come into play, businesses worldwide are trying to find a better balance between user control and process efficiency. They’re looking for ways to keep conversion rates high while giving users more control. This is especially important as many businesses that currently rely on open database access and ‘under the hood’ APIs will likely need to switch to consumer permissioned data. This change, driven by new regulations and changing user expectations, is set to redefine the digital landscape, with companies like Konfir leading the charge.

The Emerging Standard: User control first

Putting user control first is becoming a key principle in the design of digital data services. Businesses are realizing that explicit consent and authentication aren’t just about following rules, but are crucial for building trust.

Konfir recently introduced a feature that records why a candidate can’t connect to a data source. This feature considers the users’ circumstances and uses the data to provide a personalised, user-friendly experience, leading to happier users and better conversion rates. This is a change from previous methods that pushed users to connect data whenever possible, albeit with their consent.

Conversion Rates: The Surprising Outcome of Additional Steps

It’s a common belief in product design that extra steps in a user journey might lead to higher abandonment rates. But we’ve found that this isn’t always true, and we expect this trend to continue as legislation and users embrace businesses that allow people to control their own data.

To make things more transparent, Konfir added a new screen to our candidate journey, focusing solely on data usage. This step was designed to make sure that users fully understood what data was being collected and why. Instead of increasing abandonment, this additional screen actually increased the conversion rate from 76% to 80%.

You can read more about our findings here.

This shows that businesses need to rethink ‘friction’ in the user journey. It’s not just about the number of steps or clicks; user understanding, comfort, and control are key to conversion. Maybe the ‘one-click-journey’ that so many technologists strive for shouldn’t be the end goal.

The Future: Self-Governed Identity and Attributes

In a world of remote work and flexible employment, being able to verify, manage, and use your own data is becoming more and more important. As a result, there’s a global shift towards exploring self-sovereign identities and attributes. You’ve probably seen the news about big players like Apple and Plaid harnessing the potential in this space. I don’t think it’s far-fetched to see a world a few years away where people store their personal data in third-party or device wallets of their choice (think identity, employment history, qualifications, travel passes, event tickets, etc).

While Konfir isn’t a wallet provider today, we’re already using this shift to balance user autonomy with conversion, resulting in efficient service delivery that respects the user’s rights and independence.

Konfir is an Attribute Service Provider for Employment Data under The UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework. This framework sets clear rules and standards for digital identity and attribute verification providers. It ensures that everyone involved can understand and trust how service providers create digital identities and attributes.

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill 

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill is set to create a new, flexible, independent regime that will support users, government, and businesses to get the most out of data. This involves clarifying data protection rules, reducing burdens on businesses, removing barriers to the flow of UK personal data overseas, and enforcing data protection and privacy breaches. This bill will have a big impact on businesses, enabling more data-driven innovations and making public healthcare, law enforcement, and government services more effective. Importantly, it supports individuals being able to share their data with third parties, further emphasizing the importance of user control.

The Evolution of Data Services: Balancing Friction and Control

Digital data service providers have done a great job of reducing friction to provide a seamless user experience. But sometimes, this has come at the cost of user control. Services have become so “under the hood” that users often don’t know what data is being accessed about them, as descriptions are often hidden in terms of use. This has led to a situation where the seamless experience enjoyed by businesses may no longer be sustainable or even what the user wants.

The rise of self-sovereign identity and attributes, and the mechanisms that enable them, could shake up many industries that rely on personal data today. But for this to become a reality, a complete ecosystem needs to exist. Everyone needs to be on board: relying parties, attribute/identity issuers, and end-users. This presents a classic marketplace problem, where supply and demand must be balanced for the system to work effectively.

In conclusion…

While I may be a bit biased, I think Konfir is a great example of how businesses can balance user control with UX efficiency. This balance isn’t just about upholding user rights; it’s also about creatively using them to boost conversion rates.

What we’ve learned from Konfir’s approach is clear: respect for user autonomy and transparency in the service delivery process are not obstacles to conversion. Instead, they could be the driving forces for a new era of enhanced conversion rates and user satisfaction in digital services.

The future impact of The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill and the UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework further emphasises the importance of this balance and the direction we’re heading. These regulations not only ensure the protection of user data but also facilitate the efficient use of data, promoting innovation and enhancing service delivery.

In light of these developments, businesses need to reassess their strategies and align them with the evolving digital landscape. By doing so, they can ensure that they not only comply with the regulations but also use them to enhance user satisfaction.

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