Building trust through web design

The importance of building trust with users

Trust takes time to establish in any relationship, especially on the internet. Some people trust quickly and some trust more slowly. Websites may seem like fairly flat objects, but if at any point a visitor doesn’t trust a website, they’ll leave.

Trust is about posture

You might not be friends with your users, but you can sit up straight and treat them like friends. More than that, trust is about confidence and integrity. Friends don’t constantly try to sell you a product, spam you, or communicate in a way that’s hard to understand. Friends trust friends to be open, honest, and acting in service of friendship.

Good content creates trust

You start by making sure your content is good. That includes everything outside of a site’s code: menu options, buttons, images, sign-up language, the list goes on. All of this content should communicate its message clearly and not act like a jerk.

We’ve all tried to read articles on websites and been interrupted by banner ads, inline ads, and login prompts. How do you, as a user, react to those kinds of invasive advertising and engagement tactics? What about broken links? Weird or bad page layouts? Pages that are impossible to read on mobile devices? Slow load times?

Why would anyone trust a website that doesn’t work, make sense, or value its users’ time?

Communicate trust with every detail

You might be reading this post and thinking you’ve been building trust with your users all along, without ever considering it. If that’s the case, great. You’re doing something right.

We think you have an even better chance of succeeding if you take a moment to consider your users’ perspective—to step into their shoes and really think about what you can do to earn and nurture their trust. (Better yet, really test your content.)

Instead of trying to cram a book’s worth of information into one post, we’re going to spread it out. We’ll sign off now with a question we think about a lot, which we’ll return to in future posts: What is it about your favourite websites that keep you coming back?

(Hint: If you trust what they have to say, there’s probably a good reason why…)

PSA: As of Sept. 29, 2017, you can no longer purchase themes from this website. We will continue to provide limited support, including bug fixes and security updates, until March 31, 2018. Thank you for everything. We'll miss you dearly.