Establish Trust and Credibility with Good UX

We’ve spent the last few issues going over the basics; now let’s dive into a specific best practice:  how to build trust and boost credibility. 

In the online world, targeting customers with appropriate messaging plays a crucial role in customer retention. Most of us at Columbia are not engaged in ecommerce, but retaining customers is an important part of the University missions of teaching, research, patient care, and public service. To put that another way, we need to keep faculty, staff, students, and the public coming back to our websites and applications to help fulfill Columbia’s mission. And so, we must establish credibility and build trust.


October 14, 2021

Establish Credibility

No matter which part of the University we’re part of, website visitors look to us as subject matter experts. Credibility is the belief that a site can help users, and we are in the business of helping our customers accomplish their goals, whether academic or business-related. Therefore, our content and deliverables carry a lot of weight.

According to Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast and Slow, a website that demands vigilance, is suspicious, or requires users to invest more effort in what they are doing is likely to have low credibility. Websites and applications that give users a sense of familiarity through clean design and user experiences put customers at ease. Back this up with accurate, useful content to give your website credibility. 

Practical Ways to Build Trust

Here are a few simple but effective ways to make your website or application more trustworthy:

  • Try blue and red instead of green, yellow, and pale blue, which are perceived as less believable
  • Avoid fine print and low-contrast text
  • Avoid complex, pretentious language; it lowers credibility
  • Consider making your messages memorable by using verse
  • Use stock photography sparingly
  • Use a large button with a clear call-to-action
  • Add trust markers such as official branding and a visible privacy policy
  • Fact check all of your content

All of these tactics combine to provide users with an uncluttered, seamless experience that helps them accomplish their goal of visiting your site. If you’d like to learn more about how to use these strategies and others, email us. We’d be happy to create a workshop around this.

Quiz of the Month

Test your knowledge. See how much you know about “good abandonment” and “information scent.”