How to Build Trust in Web Design

As anyone who’s ever been in any relationship knows, trust, or the lack there of it, can change everything.

The same principle applies in web design. Whether a user will perform a desired action or not — sign up to a newsletter, make an inquiry, complete a sale — can all weigh on an intangible sense of confidence, faith, and trust in your brand.

This is ever more true in 2018, a year in which online privacy and data protection has seen its biggest overhaul for two decades — a clear reflection of changing user and customer attitudes.

Make sure your whole digital strategy communicates trust — instead of forcing you and your users apart — with our quick guide on how to build trust in web design.

Stick To What They Know

To first be able to trust someone or something, you first need to feel comfortable. And in the online world, where brands don’t have tonnes of time to put their audience at ease, it’s essential this comfort is fostered through the design.

Comfort in web design is most easily achieved by sticking to ‘conventions’: familiar structures and characteristics that users already recognise and know how to use. This doesn’t mean throwing up a generic WordPress theme and clicking publish, but rather looking into what works and what doesn’t work in your particular niche and with your particular audience.

A Touch of Personality

Trust is a quality that is usually cultivated between two human beings. And so, when it comes to trying to build trust in web design, the first thing you need to do is humanise your brand.

The best way to do this is by injecting some personality and emotion into your voice. Of course, it’s important to remember people also associate trustworthiness with professionalism, and so being too informal is not going to do you any favours. But showing some character and imperfections, for example by using self-shot photos not stock images, and being authentic in your marketing, will enable your audience to connect with you in a much more meaningful and lasting way.

Simply Great Design

We tend to associate high quality with high investments of time, energy, and care. As a result, when we see high quality, we automatically drop our guard and get the sense we’re in safe hands.

Unlike knocking on furniture or driving a car to assess quality, high quality in web design is demonstrated in quick loading times, easy-to-use interfaces, the presence of security markers like privacy policies and help prompts, and overall seamless and slick user experiences.

Hear it From Someone Else

Millennials and Gen Z no longer respond to aggressive direct advertising in which businesses inform “consumers” what they need and why they need it from them.

Today, the playing field is more levelled out, with transactions being seen more like establishing relationships than striking deals. One reason for this is the vast increase in accessibility of social proof.

Social proof is the modern day equivalent of a recommendation from a neighbour or a referral from a friend at work. It reduces the market gap by showing customers that other people like them have already put their trust in brands and businesses, and it worked out well.

What’s best is that with social media rating systems and independent review companies, the effect of social proof in building trust can be maximised many times over a recommendation from a friend.

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Alistair Hague

Alistair Hague

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