5 hacks to designing websites that users trust

“What you see is what you get”.  This proverb perfectly captures the value of design in creating a sense of trust in users who visit your website. If you think that as far as credibility is concerned, web design has nothing to offer, you’re making a huge mistake. Recent findings from a study conducted under the Stanford Web Credibility Project are clear – more than a half of consumers decide whether the brand is credible on the basis of its website. Here are 5 practical hacks for designing websites, which instantly inspire trust and add a positive value to your brand.

1. Professionalism

A clean and uncluttered layout is the first sign of professionalism. A professionally looking design will instantly add a sense of credibility to your brand. A sloppy design produces negative associations and suggests that the website might disappear as soon as users give it their money.

If you think a professionally looking website is just a bother, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask yourself a question: would you use a website you didn’t trust?

2. Consistence

Strong brands are built on consistency. When creating your interface and visual content, make sure to use the same aesthetic and user interface patterns to help your audience in orientation and task completion. It’s a good idea to use pre-existing standards with which users are likely to be familiar.

When introducing an unfamiliar UI pattern, try to make it as intuitive and streamlined as possible. Make the most from visual metaphors like buttons or tabs to improve user experience and the general quality of interaction.

3. User Experience

UX is central to building trust on your website and should be tested once you create a page prototype or mockup. Bear in mind UX when structuring the architecture of your website. If information about your product is hard to find, consumers can become suspicious about your motives.

Your website should help users to achieve their goals quickly and efficiently. It should provide default values that make sense and reflect the demographics of your audience, offer practical error messages that actually help people and allow users to always check the data they type into processing forms. All this will improve your website’s usability and provide a great user experience.

4. Social proof

This is a really smart trick that will instantly enhance the credibility value of your website. People tend to look to others for guidance and if you use it to your advantage, you’ll be on your way to gaining the trust of consumers.

If someone indicates a brand as safe and reliable through social signals, users will be more willing to try the product themselves. Leverage the potential of social proof by featuring positive opinions, testimonials, reviews and recognized achievements or awards. An opinion of an expert figure is of great advantage here.

5. Security

If your website handles sensitive information, make sure to show users that you know what you’re doing. Use visual reinforcement (borders, color changes) on sensitive form fields – users always scrutinize them with security in mind. Include recognized security seals, such as VeriSign or TRUSTe to increase the credibility of your website.

Your website is often the first point of contact with consumers, so you should make sure to make the most from this occasion and build a positive impression of your brand, based on trust and professionalism.

Nicole Davies works at ShortCourseFinder, a website providing a simple way to find and sign up for online short courses from Australia’s top providers. Main areas of her interest are the social media and the use of new technologies in everyday life.

Topics: Business Development and Promotion
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