How Does Passwordless Authentication Improve UX?

They have formed the foundation of digital identity and security for half a century. Now the age of passwords is coming to an end.

While it would be easy to just focus on how their demise impacts authentication and cybersecurity, in this blog we are going to look at what it means for user experience.

Is passwordless authentication good for user experience?

It’s well established that embracing passwordless authentication is one way to significantly improve your organisation’s security posture. 

After all, 80% of data breaches come from poor password security, and two in five people have had their identities hacked or sensitive information breached because of exploitable duplicate and outdated passwords.

However, losing passwords from the equation can also have a positive effect on user-experience, such as:

  • Frictionless sign-in to applications
  • Dynamic Authentication using high-assurance factors 
  • Remove need for password resets

Passwordless authentication doesn’t just make the lives of your security and IT teams easier, it can also help you build valuable and seamless digital experiences for your employees and customers.

Speed up logins with passwordless authentication

Passwordless authentication speeds up the sign-in process significantly. Instead of puzzling over their tough-to-crack, twenty-character password each time they login (“Did I replace that ‘i’ with ‘1’ or ‘!’?”), your users can get nearly instant access to applications with just a couple of clicks. 

Although it only takes a minute or two for users to login with their password, repeating that multiple times every day really adds up. Passwords are a source of friction for employees and customers alike, and being able to access apps without delay can improve the efficiency of your teams as well as conversions on your digital platforms.

Passwordless authentication creates intuitive user experiences

Passwordless authentication comes in many forms: one-time codes, magic links, push notifications, and biometric recognition to name a few. What these all have in common is that successful and secure authentication can usually be achieved within a few clicks. When authentication goes passwordless, accounts don’t just become more secure, but actually simpler to access at the same time.

The need to remember one hundred passwords can be done away with by using other authentication factors. Instead of asking for ‘something you know’ - the password attached to your account - passwordless authentication requires either ‘something you have’, like your phone or a PIV/Smart-card, or ‘something you are’, such as your fingerprint or your face. Contextual factors like user behaviour, device used and geographical location can also be used to determine which factor(s) should be used at any given time.

The result is a smooth experience that manages risk dynamically and requiring minimal effort from users. 

Improve UX with less time and money spent on password resets

Password management is one of the top reasons why people call call-centres. The average time per week spent entering or resetting passwords is 12.6 minutes/week. This amounts to an average annual cost of productivity and labor loss of $5,217,456 per company.  As such, reducing the support burden imposed by passwords is mission-critical for organisations.

Passwordless authentication makes users feel secure

Finally, passwordless authentication improves UX by making users feel safer when they sign in to their applications. More than 50% of users surveyed by the Ponemon Institute said they’d like to protect their accounts with a method that doesn’t use passwords. Although passwords have been in use for decades, an increasing number of people are recognising the inherent security risks associated with them, and would rather authenticate by different means.

Improve user experience with Okta’s passwordless authentication

The adoption of passwordless authentication is one of the most impactful steps that can help organisations and services manage security risks and deliver seamless user experiences. Going passwordless requires careful thought and planning and Okta has the building blocks you need for every use case.

For more information, read our whitepaper: Move Beyond Passwords.

Click here to begin your journey to passwordless with Okta.