In March I wrote about the website/user relationship in an article "Your Website: Do new visitors trust you?" Today an article arrived from the Nielsen Norman Group that touched on that again.
I really enjoy articles from them. The founder, Jakob Nielsen, started decades ago with the "10 best/worst websites on the Internet" and have continually focused on the user experience. He has since added staff and built a business around website usability, and I'm pretty sure he had something to do with coining the acronym UX (User Experience),
Today, they sent me a link to an article titled "Trustworthiness in Web Design: 4 Credibility Factors" by Aurora Bedford. She reviewed and updated an article written by Jakob in 1999.
- Summary: Websites must establish trust and present themselves as credible to turn visitors into customers. The methods that people use to determine trustworthiness on the web have remained stable throughout the years, even with changing design trends.
Design Quality - This is a given, but also challenging. Developers have to find the balance of colors, white space, imagery, etc, PLUS avoid misspelling, broken links and bad grammar.
In the section titled "Comprehensive, Correct, and Current," Belford wrote "users appreciated sites that contained a large amount of relevant content because it showed that the organization was well informed and committed to helping its customers."
That goes hand-in-hand with "Connected to the Rest of the Web," where she points out that everything is connected and users have access to multiple sources of information to verify what one site has to say. It's a wise site that leverages that connectivity.
Finally, the section that is near-and-dear to my heart is titled "Upfront Disclosure."
Bedford starts with the rhetorical question "You wouldn’t trust someone who’s hiding something from you, would you?"
A little further down she writes, "Login walls and gated content are other examples of how a website may not seem upfront with its users. Asking for information before providing any value is a breach of trust: asking for too much too soon means you don’t get anything because users leave instead of answering." (emphasis mine) Amen!
It's a good read, and I recommend it. Here's the link again (opens in a new tab):