How can you ensure the credibility of a website?
By establishing the Trust factor.
What is Trust?
Trust is the degree to which a person has confidence or dependence on another person, organization, or an object. People are afraid of being cheated in different ways: False information, Phishing, Hackers, Fake products and so forth. So, when we introduce something new, we need to gain confidence in our users so that our product accomplishes the goal.
In our case, Trust is associated with website design. And where does this Trust lie in a website design? I don’t know it all; I’m still a novice in the field. But after learning about the importance of credibility, I looked for the factors affecting the credibility of a website. That’s when I recalled the “Honeycomb structure.”
As UX practitioners or UX fanatics, we might have come across Peter Morville’s Honeycomb structure which describes the factors affecting User Experience.
Let’s have a quick look at what each means:
- Useful: Your content should be original and fulfill a need
- Usable: Site must be easy to use
- Desirable: Image, identity, brand, and other design elements are used to evoke emotion and appreciation
- Findable: Content needs to be navigable and locatable onsite and offsite
- Accessible: Content needs to be accessible to people with disabilities
- Credible: Users must trust and believe what you tell them
This indicates that if Credibility is excluded but all other factors included, even then the whole experience for the product will be a failure.
Whether you believe it or not, “First Impression is The Best Impression”. Hence, the best place to start building up trust is from the Home/ Landing screen. We need to bring attention and influence to our users by providing relevant data, aesthetics and usability. A clear information hierarchy has to be established from the landing screen itself.
Now, let me take you through some basic modifications which improves the credibility of a website:
- Information: Lay out content in a way which distinguishes between the present and the past information.
- Images: Add images of individuals and other items as per the context, to create a sense of belonging.
- Testimonials: Show customer testimonials to create some additional value for the site.
- Usability: Ensure proper navigation, quality visual design, and an error-free and effective search functionality.
- Physical Address: Provide the physical address or location in the map.
- References: Provide the source of data, image or text for validation or further learning.
- Awards: Add reputed awards or industry-specific certificates, to strengthen the reputation of the site.
Apart from the above, there are also other factors like Sitemap, FAQ, customer support. Even the language tone matters a lot for improving the credibility.
Let us analyse these by taking a simple example: Life Insurance Corporation of India website.
Information is the primary concern for a user in an insurance website. And recently updated content is displayed upfront. However, there is also an option to retrieve any previous personal data. Also, the site is usable as the users have easy access to important links.
Common people images are used for different sections. Thus users can relate to themselves.
There is also a Sitemap segment at the bottom of the screen which gives additional information about the important pages or links in the site.
The above points are just a few based on my learning experience which helps in improving the credibility of a product. Additionally, it is not mandatory to have all of these in all the applications. Based on the context, the usages can differ.