A company’s online presence plays a major role in building and sustaining the trust of potential and existing customers. While helpful information, strong customer service, and reliable products are all part of this process, the design of a website’s user experience can play an important role in establishing the trust of visitors.
Design has a subconscious impact on how much audiences inherently trust the information they are given by a brand’s website. The Stanford Web Credibility Project found that 46 percent of surveyed consumers assessed the credibility of a website based in part on the overall visual design of a site, including layout, typography, font size and color schemes.
The following four elements of user experience design can affect audience trust greatly and should be taken into consideration by businesses when establishing their identities online.
1. The Aesthetic-Usability Effect
According to the Aesthetic-Usability effect, a term coined by Nielsen Norman Group, beautiful things are typically seen as easier to use and more valuable than things perceived as ugly. This means that a good looking website or application will positively impact the initial reactions of users. With a positive emotional response to visual design, customers will be more tolerant of minor issues concerning usability and companies will start of their relationships with audience members on a positive note.
However, it must still actually be easy to use. An attractive appearance must be in service to a well-done design. If not, the initial positive sentiments of users will not go far. When combined with the other elements outlined here, the benefits of a great looking digital experience can have a longer lasting impact.
2. The Importance of Transparency
As discussed by UX Design, customers appreciate a degree of transparency regarding the companies they buy from online and in-person. This transparency includes knowing about a company’s employees, customers, motives, pricing and more when interacting with them online. However, transparency doesn’t just apply to the content provided online, but also to how it is presented to audiences.
The harder it is to find such valuable information, the more likely customers are to distrust a business. Just as a website should be designed to help visitors find the services they need as easily as possible, a design should also enable users to find pricing and company information whenever they need. If it seems as though a website’s layout is made to hide crucial information, then potential customers may quickly distrust a business when it comes to their practices.
3. Consistency in Design
Consistency throughout a site plays an important role in maintaining the trust built by a visitor. Should he or she suddenly come upon a section of a business website that does not fit with the rest, suspicions and concerns can quickly arise about the safety, trustworthiness and professionalism of the company itself. Appcues recommends a consistency audit, where a company takes an inventory of all user touch points to see if design, features, functionalities, tone, branding, labels and more are all aligned with one another across these moments.
If there is a lack of congruity between landing pages, services and more, visitors can become confused and may feel that a business cannot provide a professional experience. As such, making sure that there is a consistency to the user experience design of everything presented will help create an immersive user experience.
4. Provide Secure Experiences
Today’s audiences are becoming more aware than ever of the potential security threats occurring online and the consequences of an information breach. As detailed by The Next Web, explicitly telling customers how you are protecting their data can have a major positive impact on the amount of trust felt concerning a company’s website.
This can be done in numerous ways, including providing a seal of approval from the security service being used and an outline of how sensitive information is stored and shared or not shared. Of course, these recommendations come with the need to actually provide the security promised to customers, and not just false promises. There are few ways to more quickly lose the trust of customers than to suffer a major data breach of sensitive user information.
The Benefits of Customer Trust
According to a Wunderman study, 79% of consumers state that brands must demonstrate their understanding and care for them as a customer before they consider purchasing a product or service. However, customer trust plays a major role in not only securing the first purchase from a consumer, but also in encouraging long-term loyalty to a business. From the first interaction and hopefully through the process of many purchases, a customer must trust in a company and the products they offer before they invest their time and finances. Strong, trust-focused design can make a difference in both the long- and short-term success of customer-business relationships.