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No inside jokes

So UX has been coming up in conversation lately as I have been speaking to new and current clients. I’ve talked about managing the user’s expectations, but what about the trust factor?

The digital space can be a scary place. Lots of bad people are are sending you emails from Nigeria or Kansas asking for your banking information so that the can send you millions of dollars. Companies are asking you to fill out a form so that you can download a PDF of fairly useless information. It’s enough to make you uninstall your browser.

I have long told my students my axiom: brand=trust. So how can a business make that true on the web, which is a low-trust environment? More importantly, how can you get a user to perform a task that he/she is inherently reluctant to?


So many times as a youngster, I asked my parents “Why?!?” is response to their requests. Your users are asking the same thing…so tell them! What does it cost you to be honest with your user and tell them why you are asking for information? Better yet, what can you gain in loyalty to be up front and honest with them about the information request and what you plan to do with it? If cast the ask in terms of a benefit for the user, chances are they will comply.

Demonstrate that you value and will protect the exchange of information.

Make sure that you convey to your use that the information that you collect from them is safe in your hands. Have a privacy policy. Make sure that the user knows that you have a privacy policy and, most importantly, let them know what to expect from that exchange of information.

Trustworthy design

Ever bought fish from a beat-up station wagon or a generic white van? Of course not. Equally, shabby/confusing/cookie-cutter design does not lead to user trust and actually deters them from making the purchase/engagement decisions that you want them to make. Need I say more?

The bottom line is that users expect shady behavior in the digital space. Pleasantly surprise them and never make them feel that they are not in on the joke.