In a great show of irony, just at a point where we are predicted to move into a completely internet-dependent world, studies show that people are demonstrating a remarkable and growing distrust of … the internet.
The Internet of Things promises to auto-connect our lives to the point where we can run an entire household from our cellphones. That sounds like a huge convenience and time-saver to our hectic lifestyles, but it is countered not only by an increasing number of security breaches and site-failures by even major web-players. Face it: if Amazon or eBay can go offline, anyone can.
And too, there is a massive amount of “jumping on the bandwagon” going on right now. Particularly in the light of Europe’s recent GDPR regulations requiring more transparency in data-handling, it seems that everyone on the web wants us to sign up. Companies promise informative newsletters, or a quick discount, or about anything they can in exchange for access to your decision-making process.
We are constantly being barraged with requests to share extremely personal information with all types of companies, from social networking and news to retail, travel services, and more. And for the most part, we happily provide personal information for one reason: it’s convenient.
But as our mailboxes and news feeds become more and more cluttered, we start wondering if maybe–just maybe–we shouldn’t start being a tad more selective. And that leads us to perhaps being a smidgeon more careful before we hand our info over to what is, essentially, some random stranger.
Which brings us back to YOU, and YOUR website. For effective marketing, it is crucial that customers trust your website to make their lives easier in some way. In exchange for an email address, they trust you to not only provide a quality product or service, but also to PROTECT that email address and associated data. As a merchant, it’s important to recognize how easily that trust can be broken … and once trust broken, how hard it is to regain.
Here at Spilled Milkshake, we design for trust. How? Well, we strive for honesty and transparency in your website design, so that users see upfront who they are dealing with. Beyond just that, our experience has taught us four common factors among trustworthy websites.
Say Hello First
How many websites have you entered that immediately ask for you to create an account? How did it make you feel? It’s not unlike being introduced to someone who–before even saying hello–asks you to sign a contract. If your only goal is to get a signature, that tactic might work … but it’s not going to help you build a long-term relationship. Try a quick introduction to you or your products, or offer ways you can help them navigate your site. Give users the chance to look around before insisting on personal information.
Let Users Know What’s Happening
A wise woman once said, “Never trust a man who says, ‘trust me.'” A website that claims it can be trusted but gives nothing to substantiate that does nothing to inspire confidence. Anything that can back up your claims adds credence to them: online tracking of orders, 3rd party security compliance, or even a page that goes through some of the security protocols you have in place.
Dress the Part
A social media site that promotes conversations among skateboarders can be casual and lingo-filled, but you probably don’t want to be. Any site that is asking users to pay for a product or service needs to maintain a certain level of professionalism. If you go to a new doctor, how secure would you feel if he greeted you wearing patched jeans, a misshapen sweat shirt and duck boots? Wouldn’t a starched shirt, dress slacks and a white coat make you feel better? Same principle. Your site should promote respect for user. Don’t neglect spell check, and it never hurts to have a professional editor polish your text. Attention to detail helps customers know your take their needs seriously, which in turn promotes trust.
Be Yourself, All the Way Through
Along the same lines, it’s important that you make every effort to keep things consistent across the users’ experience. Your brand look–from colors to voice to typography and beyond–not only makes you look professional (and therefore trustworthy), it leaves an impression of consistency, stability, longevity. It is a subtle yet important way to establish that trust.
While it’s not only design’s job to convey trust, design does play a critical role, especially since the design may be a new user’s first experience with your brand. If making trust core to your business, let the designers here at Spilled Milkshake help you pave the way for long-term rewards.