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Deep Linking: The Power of One-Step Activation for Your Users

We are consumers, employees and citizens of a culture where we like things to be simple. We live in a world of choice and distraction, which creates challenges for organizations attempting to direct users of their technology while maintaining appropriate security levels. Attention spans are diminishing, and consequently, there is a constant need for digital experiences to be quick, flawless and without risk of users becoming uninterested or confused.

We find ourselves in digital experiences every day — from logging on to work, to making an online bank transaction, to ordering from an online store. Sometimes these experiences are seamless, and other times they can be frustrating in design.

Have you ever clicked a link on your phone and immediately been taken to a specific point within an app? This is what we call deep linking, and it makes navigating to where we want to go a whole lot easier.

What Is Deep Linking?

Deep linking is a technique most commonly used in advertising that helps organizations and businesses to route their mobile users to the exact content that they expect. It’s a technique that reduces that precious period of time during which users can become uninterested and consider quitting when faced with multiple steps to get to where they want to be. It both improves the user experience and increases the likelihood of conversion and retention by doing the hard work for the end user.

How Exactly Does It Work?

Deep linking is made possible by uniform resource identifier (URI) schemes, similar in concept to URLs for websites, that trigger the technique and allow users to be funnelled deeper into an app. Deep linking ensures that when a user clicks on a link, they are taken straight to a specific location within the app if they already have it downloaded, or are facilitated to download it from an app store before being directed to the location upon download. This is the difference between direct or deferred deep linking.

Deferred deep linking is incredibly effective for organizations because it removes several manual steps that are usually required by the user, and ensures their app is downloaded effortlessly to users’ mobile devices. During deferred deep linking, the user is re-directed to an intermediary page that is used to fingerprint the user’s device securely. The user’s device fingerprint is temporarily held and enables the app — post download — to retrieve the information required to complete the activation and registration process with the server securely. Once the activation and registration processes are complete, the user’s device fingerprint is permanently discarded.

So, What’s It Got to Do With User Authentication?

As with any other mobile application, deep linking drastically improves the user experience for people using a mobile application for authentication or transaction signing purposes. This could be authenticating their identity to access their mobile banking, approve a transaction, access work resources and more. Deep linking is important in these situations because it eliminates several manual steps and aids the user in locating where they flawlessly prove their identity to securely access whatever they need without that extra layer getting in the way. An example of an application that offers deep linking is HID Approve™.

HID Approve Delivers a Superior User Experience Through One-Step Activation

HID Approve is available as a software developer kit (SDK) or as a mobile application that acts as an authenticator for trusted identity. It provides the option of both push-based authentication that relies on asymmetric key cryptography, and One-Time Passwords (OTP) that rely on a symmetric key. These methods create a second factor of authentication for users to prove they are who they say they are — meaning they can safely access resources or approve transactions. The HID Approve application utilizes a deep linking technique to make users’ lives easier while being built with the highest levels of security in mind.

In doing so, HID Approve speeds up the authentication experience from the very beginning. Here’s how easy it is for users to start authenticating:

  1. A user is required to authenticate their identity and is consequently shown a QR code (or SMS or email with a link) to begin the one-time activation/registration process
  2. The user uses their mobile phone camera to scan the QR code. After clicking the link that appears, they are facilitated to download the HID Approve app.
  3. Once the application is downloaded, HID Approve automatically activates the user with no further steps to be taken and the user is ready to authenticate with strong multifactor authentication

HID Approve Provides Unique Customization Possibilities

The superior user experience doesn’t stop there. Not only is the activation process made simple with HID Approve, but it can also be fully aligned with your organization through unique customization capabilities — creating a user experience personalized to your brand. HID Approve provides the option to use your organization’s logo as the application icon, which is implemented immediately upon download. The application screens, which display OTPs and push notifications, can also be personalized to your organization without complexities — keeping your users close to your brand.

Such customizations can be utilized as minimally or as extensively as your preferences see fit. On one hand, HID Approve can be deployed off-the-shelf for a low cost of ownership while keeping branding at the forefront of the user experience. On the other hand, we offer a rich SDK including all the capabilities of HID Approve for organizations who prefer total control over their user experience by integrating the solution fully into an existing application.

Therefore, HID Approve is unique because it covers a whole spectrum of customization choices, meaning you can balance ownership, personalization and simplicity in a way that suits your organization.

Discover the multitude of customizations, authentication methods and policy options to match your unique preferences in this datasheet >>

Caleb Wattles is a Senior Product Manager within the Identity and Access Management Solutions business area at HID Global. He has 20 years of experience in IT Security with over 10 years in product management. Caleb is passionate about solving customer problems, in particular those revolving around how to deliver better security, while delivering an even better user experience. Prior to HID, Caleb was with ActivIDentity, a company that was acquired by HID Global in 2010.