5-ways-to-build-more-user-trust-through-web-designBefore your users become loyal to your brand, and before they even start considering making a purchase from you, they have to trust you. For repeat visitors, this isn’t much of a problem — your products and services should speak for themselves. But making a good, trustworthy first impression to your new inbound visitors is hard to do. Fortunately, when you understand the basis for user trust online, there are a handful of design strategies you can adopt to improve your chances of success.

Why User Trust Is So Sensitive

First, it’s important to note why user trust is so sensitive in the first place. There are a variety of reasons for this, including current general user dispositions and the nature of online interactions:

  • People don’t trust corporations. Thanks in part to the economic climate after the 2008 economic crisis, consumers are less trusting of major brands and corporations. If you want to be successful, you have to have a personal approach.
  • People don’t trust advertising. The ubiquity of advertising has led consumers to view it as white noise, or distrust it entirely. You’ll need to be open, sincere, and transparent if you want to be successful.
  • The Internet is faceless. You don’t have the opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation with your online users. It’s a more faceless interaction.
  • The Internet moves fast. People will make snap judgments and move on—if you don’t earn trust immediately, you’ll lose the opportunity forever.

Strategies to Increase User Trust

Put these strategies to use to increase trust among even your first-time visitors:

  1. Showcase reviews and testimonials. Social proof is an extraordinary tool for improving trust immediately, and it can manifest in a number of different forms. Anything you do to show that other users have engaged with your brand successfully is good here; for example, you could highlight the latest customer reviews by making your average rating a prominent feature of your landing page, or you could showcase two or three major testimonials underneath your conversion form. Social signals and case studies can also be beneficial here, as long as you integrate them appropriately.
  2. Prove your authority. On the web, anybody can claim to be anything. If you want to earn the trust of your users, you have to prove yours. Social proof will take you a long way, but also consider posting your major affiliations and your history as an organization to strengthen these perceptions. For example, you could include trust badges from your major partners and publishers, showcase a list of your biggest clients, or simply state how long you’ve been in business.
  3. Avoid excessive sales-y language. Don’t clutter your headlines and body copy with overly sales-driven language like “it’s the product you’ve been waiting for!” Instead, aim for more transparency as a brand. Talk about the advantages and disadvantages of your products in plain, straightforward terms. It will help show your users that you’re being honest and straightforward with them, and they’ll trust what you have to say.
  4. Humanize your brand and voice. It’s important to have a unique brand voice, but too many brands take this as a suggestion to make their voice overly corporate or professional. Because users distrust corporations, you’re far better off showcasing a human, friendly, approachable voice. Use more colloquialisms and conversational language, and don’t be afraid to inject some humor into your approach. Sometimes, a simple joke here or there can make a user smile—and that instantly makes your brand more likeable and trustworthy.
  5. Include more faces in your design. There’s some evidence to suggest that the inclusion of more human elements in your design can increase conversions. You don’t have to stuff your design full of it, but including a handful of human faces can significantly increase user trust in your brand. Consider putting a face next to each of your key testimonials, or show off a hands-on demonstration of your product in image or video with a human volunteer. If you can, have them smiling, and try to make them seem natural and “at home” with your brand.

These strategies won’t instantly turn your site into a universally trustworthy site, but will help you win the initial trust and interest of users who might otherwise pass you up. Sometimes, little changes can make all the difference—so take the time to experiment with different designs and headlines to see what works best for your brand.