How To Build User Trust Through UX Design

September 19, 2022
Design

To trust someone can be compared to taking a leap of faith with a blindfold on. Whether that leap is literal or metaphorical, for that moment, you are valuing that person's knowledge, expertise, and credibility to such an extent that you would perform actions prompted by them without giving it much thought.

Any product's success depends heavily on user trust. Essentially, user trust is none other than a user taking a leap of faith because of a product's credibility. Because user trust is so vital, a product team should incorporate various elements into a product that encourages users to put their trust in it. One of the main ways to achieve user trust is by creating a design that takes the user's hand and guides them through the reasons why they should take that leap of faith.

This blog post will explore the various ways in which user trust can be built through UX design.

Design for people.

Users are people, and you should create your designs accordingly. Especially when designing for user trust, it is incredibly important to remember the "human element" throughout your design process. Keep the following in mind when designing:

1. People understand people. Products that are personified are more memorable and better understood by users. If your users can resonate and relate with your product as they would with a person, they are more likely to be loyal to your product. Therefore, your brand, intertwined with your product, should create a persona that users can resonate with.

2. People trust people. Ratings and reviews work wonders. When people see that others trust your product or company, they are more likely to follow suit without asking too many questions. Adding social proof to your design is therefore always a good idea.

3. People are unsettled by change. Change is inevitable, especially if you want your product to keep up with the times. Still, people are creatures of habit and generally don't respond well to change. So, when the time does come for your product to undergo certain upgrades, make sure that you are guiding your users through it all the way. If possible, make changes subtly and in small increments. If an entirely new feature has to be added, notify your users of this in advance and create new onboarding features to ensure that they don't get lost along the way. Will you be giving your brand a massive facelift? Post about it on your social to warn your users thereof well before the time.

Lean on the Laws of UX.

They're called the laws of UX for a reason. They should be followed. Although it's always a good idea to design according to all of the laws of UX, the following are most vital for building user trust:

- Aesthetic-usability effect. If it looks good, sleek, modern, and just overall aesthetically pleasing, people are more likely to trust it.

- Hick’s law. If users are faced with too many options or choices, they start doubting themselves and their own decision-making skills. This leads to them doubting your product, which decreases user trust.  

- Jakob’s Law. Users spend most of their time on other apps and sites, which means that they prefer your product to work more or less in the same way as all of the other products they are familiar with and comfortable with. Users feel in control in familiar spaces, which immediately grants a certain level of trust.

- Miller’s law. The average person can only keep seven (plus or minus two) items in their working memory. Anything that exceeds that amount will overwhelm the user and make them feel inferior. If your product is making your users doubt their own abilities, it most definitely will also lose their trust. Therefore, keep it simple and make sure your users feel like they are using the product; not the other way around.

- Peak-End rule. For the most part, people judge an experience based on how they felt at its peak and at its end, rather than the total sum or average of every moment of the experience. These two points should therefore be the highlights of the user's journey. Of course, everything else should also be of high quality - just make sure that the peak and the end are the most exciting time stamps in the journey.

Stay true.

The quickest way to lose a user's trust is through being dishonest. If you advertise a certain product or feature as 'free', your users should never have to pay for it. Don't tell users that something is free only to ask them for a payment five minutes later. Be honest; tell them that it's a free trial so that they know what to expect. 

Users are also drawn to authenticity, which is why you should steer clear of stock images and standard freepik illustrations. Make sure that your users can see that everything about your product is authentic and true to your brand.

Keep it safe.

Give your users peace of mind by keeping an SSL certificate on your website. This certification keeps your users' data safe and ensures that all exchanges between a site and a browser are safe and secure. By keeping an SSL certificate and making sure that your users are aware thereof, you are setting their minds at ease. Again, the more comfortable and secure your users feel with your product, the greater their trust for your product or company will be.

It becomes evident that conscious UX design is vital in building user trust. Without it, a product is unlikely to reach its full potential. If users don't trust your product, they simply will not follow any prompts you set before them, or worse yet, won't even go as far as acknowledging its existence. 

This is why it is so important to entrust your product's design to a team who is not only aware of how trust can be built through UX design but also has expertise in maintaining that user trust throughout your product's journey. After all, the saying goes "trust takes years to build and seconds to destroy". So be sure that your UX design team is credible, knowledgeable, and able to maintain user trust after building it.