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  • 5 Web Design Elements to Earn Your Visitors Trust

    Giving your visitors a feeling of trust when they first load up your website is a hugely important and often overlooked aspect of web design. Some sites look trustworthy and some don’t but it’s not until we examine the designs a bit more deeply that the key elements that help to build a visitors trust become clear.

    Starting at the top of the page it is important to have a unique logo. Right from large multinational companies down to humble bloggers, if you don’t have a trustworthy and striking logo you probably won’t get my business or my subscription. The examples below show two high profile bloggers that spent time and money to get the right logo early on and it has paid dividends in terms of trust and subscribers.

    Next on the list and an element often overlooked by bloggers and large corporations alike is the about page, demonstrated very well by Digg in the screenshot below. An about page needs to have photos, good formatting and most importantly some easy to understand text explaining what the site is about and who runs it. Having a page of corporate speak isn’t going to earn my trust.

    A design element not usually associated with trust is the main navigation menu. Make it complex and hard to use and people will become annoyed and think your site is badly designed, once you annoy somebody they are very likely to stop trusting the rest of your site as well. Microsoft has a good example of the sort of easy to use menu that has clearly been custom designed and it works well to make me want to use the rest of the site.

    Most designers are finally getting used to the fact that sometimes white is best. Gone are the days when entire pages had to be full of graphics, sometimes the more white space you can include on a page the more stunning the design is. Apple are masters of white space, look how easy to use the page below appears, even with over 40 links in the footer.

    If all else fails and you really are having a tough time earning trust you might need to forget the subtle approach and use the Paypal method. The screenshot below shows how Paypal has given up most of the homepage and uses a graphic purely designed to earn the trust of new visitors.


    29 Responses to “5 Web Design Elements to Earn Your Visitors Trust”

    1. John C says:

      Some good points there – thanks.

      You suggest including photos in the “about us” and yet you don’t yourselves??

      I like your points about clean design with lots of whitespace – personally I think that type of layout works really well.



    2. Kevin Gibbons says:

      I agree that having about us photos adds a personal touch to the website, it’s something we’ve been meaning to add since relaunching the new design but we really should take our own advice now! :)

    3. Scottsdale Web Design says:

      That is a really good point about the photos on the about page. It really does give it a much more personal touch that I hadn’t really thought about before. Thanks for the ideas!

    4. Vancouver Island SEO says:

      Great tips, I spend a lot of time advising my SEO clients on their general structure, design, and corporate branding. To me visitors are useless without a site that converts. Cheers.

    5. Gene says:

      I think consistency is important also, if pages are different and there is no similarity it will confuse users.

    6. Kevin Gibbons says:

      “To me visitors are useless without a site that converts.”

      Sounds obvious but a lot of people seem to forget about this, it’s not all about traffic stats!

    7. Joseph says:

      There are other types of logos that have been found to increase the level of trust by visitors as well.

      ScanAlert offers a “Hacker Safe” logo that can be placed on the page, VeriSign has a “Secured” logo, and the Better Business Beareau offers several different types of logos and tags.

      Of course these become much more of an issue when you are dealing with a site with a shopping cart.

    8. Colleen says:

      Thanks for your tips. I’ve been working on redesigning one of my sites and your ideas will come in helpful. I personally have always been a fan of whitespace – even before the web when I published a small church newsletter, I felt if you try to cram too much stuff into the available space, people will just be turned off and not read any of it.

    9. Yaili says:

      Actually the Zen Habits logo is a stock illustration anyone can buy…

    10. Jill says:

      Nice article. I tried to stumble the article, but it didn’t work. Better check your social bookmarking link code.

    11. geri says:

      Great post… Thanks… The little things do make a difference.

    12. Search engine tips says:

      Thanks Patrick, this is open my eye to be better on the website design to gain high visitor.

    13. really good article – I think I’ve learnt quite a bit


    14. Voices.com says:

      If you’ve been online for longer than say three years, I’ve found adding a timeline to show your visitors what you’ve been up to the last few years is a good way to establish credibility. The timeline demonstrates that you’ve been hard at work and highlights your recent accomplishments.

    15. ASCI says:

      Good point about using a white layout, it’s a symbol of cleanliness take objects for example, you would more likely use something that is white where you can see how clean it is as opposed to a darker object where you can’t see how clean it is – perhaps this thought of white>clean>trust is a general human embedded thought

    16. Sometimes the simplest sites are the best. Look at what google has done, they are not flashy or traditionally designed well. But they get it done and it looks clean.

    17. Nantucket Art says:

      Refreshing simple – thanks for the article

    18. It’s alway nice to know that someone else agrees with you!

    19. Jacob Stoops says:

      This is such a great article. As a young designer, it is always at the top of my mind to keep my audience in mind when creating a site. Making the design look good and knowing what the audience is expecting is such a key element to building trust with them.

      All of the tips are awesome. Definitely gives us all something to think of when building a site.

    20. kitchens says:

      Great tips on web design. I had never noticed these things before, especially how apple do use white spaces more than others. I might try this route myself :P

    21. Laptop Tech says:

      Yes I truly agree, a logo is so very important for the viewer. something to remember is always good. Thanks for the tips.

    22. Laptop Tech says:

      I have to agree a logo is so important for the visitor. Something to remember is always a good thing for returning visitors who happen to stumble on your site in the future.

    23. I am in the process of developing my website and do find your suggestions very helpful and sensible. I wish to add that I believe that ‘variety is the spice of life’ and would sometimes vary from the basics in order to stand out and be noticed.

    24. kumaran says:

      thanks for the info. cute article. i a newbie. you clearly explained a lot.

    25. Good points. Simplicity is always the way to go. Thanks for the article.

    26. I often think internet users get a feeling of trust if they enter your website and there is a very recent news story on the website home page. There is nothing worse than going onto a website and thinking this has not been updated for months

    27. You make some valid points which I will take into consideration when briefing our web designers. I find it difficult to find designers that are simple, that use white space more efficiently. I feel that designers want to add too many design elements. Will pass this post on to them, thanks.

    28. phil says:

      You twice in your text reference items “below” e.g. “the about page below” etc – but there appears to be no referenced page. Would this be one of this irritating design flaws that your articles treats of?

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