When Seconds Matter

When I started working on authifyNow, it was a simple browser add-on that could verify sites, based on sub-domains that belong to banks in India. It was a minimal code that loads data from a JSON file hosted on GitHub. A browser-only add-on was a great choice at first. Once installed, simply opening the extension verifies the URL and shows the result of which company the URL belongs to.

But there were a few design flaws. One, the time to verify a link was directly dependent on the size of the JSON file. Once the number of companies listed in the database increases, the size of the JSON file increases, and hence, the time to load the JSON file also increases. Unless the entire JSON file is loaded, the individual URLs cannot be verified with those listed in the JSON database.

Then, there was the issue where the feature was limited to only PC owners. I always wanted it to be beneficial to the general public. The majority of Indians don’t have a PC or laptop, while the penetration of smartphones is very high. With a lack of support for mobile devices, it will never benefit the general public.

The third issue was the need to install the plugin as an extension. While the code was public and open-source, people would be unwilling to download and install extensions they didn’t trust. I am one such user.

So, I had a choice: to either make it beneficial to the majority or keep the project limited to those who are tech-savvy and own a PC. I decided to go with the former choice. Making it beneficial to the majority while making few compromises on ease of use.

When I started working on authifyURL, it was decided that the site should be minimal & fast yet completely functional. Hence, I built it completely web-based. So there’s no need to install anything. Simply bookmarking a site is all that matters. This one site should be able to verify the URLs of all companies that are listed in our database.

Typeahead was introduced, and data is now sourced through an API. Now, end users can choose to verify a URL depending on the user’s choice of a company or organization. This resulted in the JSON file being smaller. Rather than loading the entire JSON file, only the necessary company URLs needed to be loaded. Even if the database size increases over time, only the necessary JSON data is loaded for verification. There was no longer a need to keep the individual JSON files smaller. All this resulted in making the site load faster, verifying the URLs faster, and optimized for both smartphones and desktop devices.

Now, end users can verify a URL in less than 30 seconds. These 30 seconds are so important that it can help them identify whether a link is authentic or a scammy phishing site.

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