Design for trust

Cre­at­ing con­fi­dent re­la­tion­ships with end users is key

Web Designer - - UX - New rules, top tools -

Trust is a hu­man emo­tion that can be de­signed for, and can make or break the user’s ex­pe­ri­ence, but why is it so hard? Well, there’s a lot out there to put off even the most savvy dig­i­tal user, with dark UX pat­terns, fake news and click­bait rife. Emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies such as blockchain and self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles will put the ma­jor­ity of UX de­sign­ers’ skills to the test.

In re­cent years trust has shifted from be­ing con­trolled from the top-down by the busi­ness or or­gan­i­sa­tion, to be­ing col­lec­tively con­trolled by users via so­cial me­dia about how trust­wor­thy (or un­trust­wor­thy) their ex­pe­ri­ences with a brand have been. It’s fair to say that com­pa­nies are not in con­trol of this as­pect of how they are viewed any­more, and so it’s im­per­a­tive that a brand’s ac­tions speak louder than its words. To gain the trust of the user, the ex­pe­ri­ence must be­come as trans­par­ent as pos­si­ble, with busi­nesses be­ing open about their mo­tives, be­liefs and ac­tiv­i­ties. De­sign­ers can en­able that re­la­tion­ship by not hid­ing away this in­for­ma­tion from the user, re­mov­ing any anx­i­eties they may have.

When a cus­tomer takes a leap of faith and in­vests their time, and pos­si­bly their money in your prod­uct or ser­vice, you sud­denly have a so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity to make good on that re­la­tion­ship. So de­spite all that, how can trust be de­signed for? Thank­fully there are a few tech­niques UX de­sign­ers can use to in­stil con­fi­dence in the end user through­out their jour­ney.

We all judge a book by its cover, and it’s also well known that a user is more likely to trust a site that is more aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing. This is called the aes­thetic-us­abil­ity ef­fect, and is de­scribed as us per­ceiv­ing beau­ti­ful things as eas­ier to use over ugly ones (even if that is not the case). In­cluded in the look and feel of the site aes­thetic should be the tone of voice and type of im­agery that are used to con­vey a pro­fes­sional, re­li­able im­pres­sion of the busi­ness or or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Of course, the ul­ti­mate in­di­ca­tor of trust should al­ways be in the user test­ing re­sults, along with ob­ser­va­tions of the user’s reactions to sites. Sub­jec­tive mea­sures like trust can also be cap­tured at the end of tests. Mod­er­ated user test­ing will al­ways pro­vide much greater in­sights, but there are tools on­line to run un­mod­er­ated tests such as Usertest­ing.com.

“Trust and trans­parency is the most valu­able, and strong­est cur­rency in the dig­i­tal in­dus­try, and it is an es­sen­tial key in­gre­di­ent in build­ing suc­cess­ful prod­ucts and ser­vices that cus­tomers love” Mike Lang­ton Dig­i­tal Ex­pe­ri­ence Man­ager, Mccarthy and Stone

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