Users Trust is important for a Website
A good web design solution must build a bond of trust on a website, with its users. There are so many out there who claim to be "authority" web sites, yet when you look at the information, it could be written by anyone. With web2, it often is in fact, anyone. The reviews, or testimonials, have to at least look and sound authentic. When you have a new site, with a few reviews on, you still have find ways to build that trust with users. Interestingly there also seem to be few references and acknowledgements on todays sites. It is also easier to trust a site that does this and or acknowledges known and trusted trade organisations they are members of. Often there is no information "About us". Us being the authors of the information and perhaps owners. It is also much easier to trust a site that works, without errors.
We trust in quality
Having quality text, without spelling and punctuation issues is also a way of building this bond of trust. I would not trust a site wif me credat curd detpails that his bad spelled and has ilddle of no puntuasion would you? There is little point in a designer making something look good, if when you read it, it is rubbish.
100 pages of rubbish is still rubbish
Some might argue that web2 reviews get a air of authority from bad spelling and punctuation. Having many pages of this sort of thing can look good. If all these people use this site, why shouldn’t I? This may be fine for some but, I really do not agree. What ever your customers have to say about you may well be important. However, if they produce testimonials, with writing age of a 7 year old, would you as a first time user to the site, trust what she has to say? I think not.
Acknowledge and reference online information
You can build trust by giving acknowledgments and references to your material. If you are producing detailed studies tell people where you have got your information from. Reading material that seems to be authoriative does not mean it is. With references it is easier to trust the work has been done and is worth reading. Trusting someone conclusion however is a very personal matter. Where comercial websites are conserned, if they are a member of any recognised trade organisations, (FSB, Chamber of Commerce etc) acknowledging these on your site can be advantageous. If you know and trust a brand, when someone it mentions on a website, you may trust the site more.
Who are the owners and how do I get in touch?
A few years ago on the web, there also seemed to be little information about contacting site owners. Today many people agree, if you cannot find a "Contact us" link on a site, you look elsewhere. How are you supposed to trust a business that seems not have any way to enquire about your goods and or deal with possible complaints? Also "About us" information giving users a "feel" for what the business is all about should be considered. A company philosophy, a who we are, why we are authorities on this subject are useful to users. Even any quality checks that are done on our goods and or information can build trust.
Make sure it works
Having a site that works, without errors is a start. I am glad to see this course is making us think about making sites, that through validation may well work on many platforms. Although just validating is not enough.
Test your design
Testing on many platforms is also important to make sure it works. I came across a problem over the weekend that I cannot explain. A system with the same version of IE as I run has line in between my links. I still don’t understand the error but I will have to fix it. If I had not tested it on other machines, it might have ended up looking not how I intended, to many others. There is a air of trust build by how a page looks. Even if it not the most important issue it is still important. First impressions last.
So, users must be able to trust what they are seeing and reading. You can build trust with good punctuation and spelling. This also gives your information an air of authority, as does giving acknowledgements and references. Build trust by telling users who you are and why you should be considered as an authority. About us and Contact us pages can be seen to do this. Sites that work, without errors are also a way to have users trust your sites. Validating works to and extent for this purpose, but you should also test your designs on many platforms. If it does not look as you intended, your design concept may well not work either. For your site to be a success, you have to have those using it and reading it trust it.
Dorner, J. (2002) Writing for the Internet, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
Nielsen, J and Loranger, H. (2006) Prioritizing Web Usability, New Riders, Berkeley, CA.
Sklar, J. (2009) Priciples of Web Design, Course Technology, Boston, USA.