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Design for trust: Establishing a healthy relationship with your users

Trust is one of the most important factors in building great products. Since it helps in making better conversions and reaches a wider spectrum of audience.

A lock in top of keyboard. Reflecting how secure they feel with the digital products.
Image credit: Unsplash

There are a lot of products we find in the online space we can take service and rely upon. It may be any products like monetary sharing bank details online, sharing health-related reports, a virtual private network service, encryption service, trading bitcoins and cryptocurrencies, and more. These products need to be reliable to use and must establish a secure relationship with our users to adopt the product to solve their problems.

People won’t use it and may have a layer of insecure feeling to share bank details on your site. They may feel insecure in using your VPN service, Sharing personal information on your site. This becomes more important in new and freshly establish brands. As they might not have won the hearts of people and lack public figures of the establishment. In this article, we will learn how we design products in such a way it establishes a sense of secure feeling and reliability from the users.

Design plays with people’s emotions. It’s us designers responsible to present users information in such a way they can pursue the services and features the product offers. Trust is a human emotion that can be designed for and establishing a connection with them.

According to Rachel Botsman, it is a confident relationship to ‘the unknown’.

It’s about making that step into somewhere that you’ve never been to or by taking a leap of faith.

As designers, we are responsible for creating an experience less terrifying and a sense of faith in the users using your product. Especially when you are a fresh brand in the market or have a low reputation in the industry.

“Fear can be created quickly; trust can’t.”
Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.

Avoid Less Information

While designing your product you should take into consideration the information provided to the users to consume. In the act of providing service to your users, you should reveal all information so that they don’t sense that something is hiding underneath and it lacks much information.

Weight of information presented in design
Weight of information presented in design

In the design above we can see the right has an avatar image and a couple of information on our left which seems to have a good weight of information has a good number of reviews and friends also looks email is verified. But to our right, we see there is very little information provided which may raise a sense of insecurity and stranger feeling. It also doesn’t have an avatar with no email verification. Also, we need to avoid just avatars as it hides identity in itself.

We need to provide users with many amounts of information so that they can rely on and trust in the product they are interacting with.

Identity Disclosure

One should not close their identity in spreading the message or any warning, danger messages. When the identity is not revealed we tend to raise the sense of suspense and create confusion in ourselves. The best way is to stay close to the hearts of our users.

We can also send greetings and messages from the desk of CEO and hear openly to their need and treat as close friends while communicating and dealing with them.

Disclose the identity and revel them
Disclose the identity

In the above piece of design, we can clearly see the difference which is warmer and establishes a sense of connection between us. The right hides the identity and becomes more generic and lacks identity disclosure. But on the left, we can see our respected CEO is writing for us and also has proof of identity a signature with real true information which helps in establishing a sense of trust from users.

Add Social Proofing

McDonald’s “billions served”

Social proof is a term that was coined back in 1984 by author Robert Cialdini in his book Influence. This phenomenon is also called informational social influence.

It is a way for businesses to show their offer is valuable by reflecting on data from the people who have claimed it. When a business uses testimonials, or counters that show how many people have bought a product, or claim a celebrity or expert has used their service, these are all examples of social proof. Social proof gives prospects more confidence in claiming an offer because they’ve seen its value from the past users who have used the product.

Psychologist Robert Cialdini extensively studied social proof and shared his findings in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. He said, “We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.”

There are a couple of ways we might use social proofing in our products. Below are some we can start using it.

  • Add Case Studies
  • Testimonials, Reviews and recommendations
  • Show Logos and credentials
  • Integration with other software (eg: Clickup with Bitbucket )
  • Reflect on love from customers
  • Show how strong is your community (eg: served 30000+ students)
Logos of trusted brands used in Skiff
Logos of trusted brands used in Skiff
Quantitative data used Fender Play
Quantitative data used Fender Play
Add certifications
Add certifications

Don’t Act Different

Your website and your design should stay as the normal web would work. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel and try to act smart in losing the trust of your users. When users feel this website or application is not right and seems abnormal you might lose faith in creating that bond.

With this, you might lose a high number of users and also impact in conversion that you have in your product.

Use Endorsements

Using the endorsement of famous public figures will add more trust to your brand. These faces are well-known faces that create a sense of belonging and your brand becomes much trustworthy to people.

Product branding with Celebrity Endorsement
Product branding with Celebrity Endorsement

In this image, we can see Heinz(consumer brand) makes use of the famous singer that most of the audience is well familiar with which will add value to the brand and creates more trust in the products they offer.

With this users also tend to realize the great public figures use this brand so I can also. This makes them feel better and has a better feeling in dealing with the product.

Use Expert Suggestions

People tend to hear and obey suggestions from highly skilled persons in the industry. These people are the ones who have the specialty in their specific domain. They have gathered tons of experience in this field.

Users love to hear from them and take advice and recommendation from these experts. With their recommendations and suggestions, users can rely upon and take positive advice in the adaptation of the application.

Expert suggestions in Skiff
Expert suggestions in Skiff

Disclose Security Mechanism

Security mechanism mentioned in NordVPN
Security mechanism mentioned in NordVPN

It’s best to disclose the type of security mechanisms we use in the secure transaction measures of the application. This helps users to start believing and using our application as we have disclosed the secure mechanism we are using which they can rely on to solve and share their trusted problems.


Finally, trust has an inextricable emotional dimension we can establish with our end users. This can leverage in creating a sense of trust in your brand and convert the normal visitors to your users. Not just wearing a tiger in wolf’s clothing we indeed need to stay our application feel and make secure.

With these points into consideration in mind, we are able to establish a connection to our users in creating a better a better emotion of trusted relation with the users.

Reading References



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