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Designing for Trust: Web Psychology Insights

Designing for Trust: Web Psychology Insights


So you open your web browser and search for an affordable mobile phone. You go through a bunch of websites. You select two or three brands that you think are trustworthy and reliable. These websites look legitimate, and you just know that their products are going to be the ones that you are looking for. You just know it! 

These websites look nice and clean. They have the perfect layouts, consistent typography, great reviews that are just so relatable and you just know that these brands would give you exactly what you want! 

And what about the other websites? The ones that made you think “Uh-oh, not the right one”? Or “Is this a scam?”. What was it about those websites that made you leave without thinking twice? Was it the content? The design? Did it not have visible security badges? Or was it just everything? 

Now let’s jump to a different perspective. If you own a website, you must really want to know what makes a potential customer stay longer on your website. Or more importantly, what makes them leave? 

This article aims to answer these questions, by exploring the role of a website’s design in building trust among the website’s visitors. We will mainly focus on key factors such as social proof, the establishment of authority, consistency etc. that could be presented through your website’s design. 

So if you want to make your potential customers say “This is it!” when they visit your website, then read on. 

There are a few key points that you want to focus on when trying to understand how web design helps in building trust in your customers for your brand. 

When designing your website, make sure that it has a professional look to it. This helps in establishing trust and credibility. Also, you need to avoid outdated designs. When a customer visits your website, they need to immediately get the impression that your website is up- to- date, modern and polished. 

These design factors make the customer think that you are actively invested in your brand and website, you care enough to give your visitors a smooth and pleasant user experience and that you know what you are doing. 

When designing your website, make sure that it aligns with the personality of your target audience. It is the easiest way to create an emotional connection with them and win their trust. When your website is designed to suit the taste of your customers, it creates a sense of comfort in them that makes it easier to gain their trust.  

Now that we have an idea about how web design can influence the trust levels in your customers, let’s look at some of the factors that will help in increasing the trust levels. 

We will start off by understanding how you can present social proof of your credibility using reviews and testimonials. Then we will explore how you can establish your brand authority by showcasing certifications and affiliations. Next, we will learn ways to maintain consistency throughout your website. 

We will also explore ways to mimic the effect of personal eye contact through web design. And lastly, we will learn ways to eliminate the “fear of the unknown” using web design. 

A quick look at the ways in which you can gain customer trust using web design
A quick look at the ways in which you can gain customer trust using web design

1. Present social proof to increase trust 

After most of your purchases, you are usually asked to submit a review. Why is this so important? 

Customer reviews and testimonials, and mostly positive reviews are important because they provide to your potential customers that your product is worth the purchase. 

But more than that, it is the way you present these reviews and testimonials that matter. Make sure that the reviews look as authentic as possible. Using images of the reviewer, images of the purchased products and videos of customers using the products add to the authenticity of the reviews. 

When designing a review/ testimonial section, make sure that you are using a colorful background and giving it a distinctive to grab the attention. Using bold and bigger fonts increases the “weight” of the content. It signifies that you are confident about presenting these reviews and thereby helps in increasing the reader’s trust in you. 

It is best to place these sections on your homepage or product pages. Use a grid or carousel layout for the section, so that it appears clean and organized. This helps the reader to take in the information easily and avoids overwhelming them with information. 

2. How to establish brand authority using Web Design 

Create a dedicated page or section for displaying your certificates and accreditations. When there is a dedicated space for these certificates and accreditations, your visitors will get a chance to view them in a much more organized manner. They will also easily get an overall look at the certificates if there is a dedicated section/ page for it. 

More than the certificate names, it is the logos and visual displays of them that have a greater impact on the viewers. Logos can be easily recognized. It has the potential to invoke a sense of similarity in the visitors as well. When they see a familiar brand logo on your website, to them it would mean that you have standards that are as high as the other brand/organization/business. 

Always keep the most prestigious certificates at the top and in the area that has the most visibility. You can also place any awards that you have received alongside. Make sure that the certifications are presented with links to important details related to them. 

This adds to the credibility and authenticity of your achievements and recognition (basically they have to understand why this is such a big deal!). 

You can make your page more interactive by using elements like pop-ups or using hover effects. These pop-ups can provide more information regarding your certifications. 

It is also a good idea to let your users know how you got these certifications, all your hard work and all the obstacles that you overcame. This reflects your commitment as well as your excellence. This is a big factor that helps in increasing client trust.

3. Maintain consistency in your web design 

Consistency in your websites’ design showcases many positive qualities such as attention to detail, design skills of your team, your self- commitment and more. 

If you can show consistency in your website design, then your potential clients will have little doubt that you can deliver positive results consistently. 

Some of the ways to create consistency throughout your website is by using the same color palette across all pages, sticking to the theme, font type, constant content tone etc. 

Using the same color palette reflects professionalism and it allows the visitors to relate these colors to your brand. 

It is important to stick to one single theme across all the pages of your website. It helps the visitors understand that they are still on your web page when clicking different links. Imagine, you click on an option in a website’s menu and the page that opens up has a completely different theme and color scheme! Wouldn’t you be taken aback by this? 

Choose a single font type and stick to it across all sections, buttons and different pages. The reason for this is similar to the one that makes it better to use one theme across all pages. 

Next, let’s understand why it is important to have a constant tone across all sections and pages. The tone of the content on your page reflects the personality of your target audience and your brand as well. So if there is any deviation in the tone, that deviation could reduce the trust your users have in you as a brand. 

4. Eliminate the “fear of the unknown”

Fear of the unknown is something that all of us experience. It has played an important role in human survival. 

It helps us survive and make life saving decisions on a daily basis. We assess risks, we learn to adapt to all types of situations and solve problems by taking measures that reduce uncertainty. 

When it comes to your potential customers’ purchase decisions, we have to use this fear and turn it into an advantage. 

To do this, design your website in such a manner that reduces the fear of the unknown. 

One of the things that you can do include explaining all of your CTA buttons (call to action buttons) and links. Explain what function it performs. The users would like to know what happens when they click the button/link before they click it. So, provide a very brief description of the functions.

Next, you can provide a detailed product description. If it is a physical that you are selling, then provide information related to its materials, dimensions, weight, durability etc. It would also be a great idea to provide high quality images of the product from all angles. 

When it comes to online shopping, the major fear of the customers is that they won’t receive the product that is displayed on the website. So be as transparent as possible to reduce any chances of mistrust.  When you clearly explain each and every element on your website (that requires an action to be performed by your visitor), your website no longer serves anything to trigger this fear.

Another thing that you can do to increase customers’ trust levels in your brand, is placing your customer support buttons/ options near the areas where you think the customer could have trouble deciding on something, or might simply be feeling confused. Such placements create a sense of security in the customers, and repeatedly seeing that you are always there to help them, conditions them into trusting you. 

5. Design your website to ensure security 

Securing your website is extremely important, and you obviously know that. You might already know the steps you need to take to make your website secure. But how do you communicate to your customers that your website is secure? How can you achieve this through web design? 

You can do this simply by showing them the steps you have taken to make your website secure. Get an SSL certificate for your website. Depending on the type of SSL certificate you have chosen, you will get different levels of protection for your data as well as your customer’s data. 

If you choose an Extended Validation SSL certificate, you will get the green address bar. An Extended Validation SSL certificate is said to give the highest level of trust in your website from the visitors. 

Display security badges wherever possible and make sure that you have a visible and verifiable security policy. If you are running an online store, then take all the necessary steps to make your customer know that it is safe for them to run transactions through your site. Design your billing portals in the most transparent way possible. 

When the customer reaches the checkout page, explain all the steps that they need to take to ensure a secure transaction and also let them know what are the steps that you have taken to keep their financial information safe.

Now you know! 

So this is how you can get your customers to say “Yup, this is it” when they click on your website link. 

Let’s go over the steps again. 

The first step to gain your customers’ trust is to provide them with social proof. You show them what your previous customers have to say about your brand through reviews and testimonials. Next, you establish your brand authority through certificates and affiliations. They should be verifiable so that the customers can be assured of your brand’s authenticity.  

Keep the color palette, theme, content tone and page layout consistent in all of your pages. If you are not consistent with your website design, then how can the people visiting your website trust that you will deliver them with consistent quality? 

Next, you got to fight for yourself and eliminate the fear of the unknown in your customers. Explain all the elements of your website and remove any element that could trigger the fear in the customers. If your website has no triggers then your customer won’t have the fear either. 

Secure your website! And let your customers know that you have gone to great lengths to ensure the security of their data. This is highly important if the customers have to share their financial information with you. If you have taken all the necessary steps to ensure security, then display it through your web design. 

These are some of the ways to design your website in order to increase trust in your customers. Now that you have an idea about it, we hope that this information will help you with an amazing website! 



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