Trust and the role of design on the web

Trust and the role of design on the web Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust. When we use the web to market our goods or services, we have little control over the first four obstacles. Sure, we can create a sense of urgency by offering specials, and we can highlight features to help build desire, but only to a limited degree. When it comes to trust though, we can make a significant impact. The web is an environment unlike print or video. We have the opportunity to capture a client’s attention, and to keep it for a period. We have the ability to earn a client’s trust by creating an environment that supports and reinforces our message and allows us to demonstrate our ability over time. I’ve had first hand experience with this recently. I’m in the market for a particular type of off-the-shelf web reservation system to help power a client’s website. He’s in an industry where there are literally hundreds of developers vying for his business. Virtually all the offerings do the same thing in basically the same way. This software can literally make or break his company though, and it doesn’t come cheap. Choosing a developer we trust is vital. But to date, after viewing hundreds of pages, there is not a single developer I’m willing to recommend. I don’t trust any of them. The reason? Their websites are awful. They display an utter contempt for the user. There has been no effort made to relate to the customer, or to display a whit of personality. The majority of these sites – I’d say over 95% – look like they were thrown together in a day or so by someone with a copy of Front Page circa 1996. How can I believe and trust that these companies will be able to deliver a software product that is in any way better than their own web presence? Simple. I can’t. And I don’t. To be sure, I’m more sensitive to web design than most (most people don’t swear loudly and pound their desks in frustration when forced to endure hours upon hours of complete and utter dredge). But in no way does that diminish my point about trust. On the web, you have a few seconds to grab my attention, and few more seconds to help me find what I’m after. If you can do that, you then have my attention, and can begin to show me why I should trust you. If you can’t be bothered to even try, then forget it. You aren’t getting my money.

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