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Posted by Amit Chail on October 28, 2011

What kind of website design do you think attracts people and keeps them there to click on the call to action button? How do people determine the credibility of a website that increases their trust of your site.

As long time web designers, we not only succeed by building attractive sites that provide some utility to our clients’ customers, but we continuously learn from industry research so we avoid costly mistakes for our clients.

So how do your visitors determine if your site is credible?

Based on a study conducted by Stanford University and Consumer Web Watch, we are able to not only rule out the obvious choices but gather some insights into building more credible websites.

This study revealed that the average consumer paid far more attention to the visual cues, than to its content (such as privacy policy, awards, etc). For example, nearly half of all consumers (or 46.1%) in the study assessed the credibility of sites based in part on the appeal of the overall visual design of a site, including layout, typography, font size and colour schemes. This is not to under-emphasize the importance of good content! The results were a surprise to the researchers, but at BTI, our experience has always been leading edge as we factor in consumer behaviour and expectations in our entire design process.

The visual appeal of the site is the first factor used by consumers to determine the credibility of the site, but it is not the only one. The site must offer valuable content. To appeal to the visual nature of consumers, the content should not be all text. A good balance of photography and video needs to complement the messaging. Remember the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words holds true more than ever when many companies are fighting to capture the consumers’ short attention span.

This means that your site needs to look professional. It can’t look like something done in some kid’s basement. In particular, some of the aspects that make your site look professional are:

  • Colour choices – Coordinate your colours to draw attention to important elements. Be careful with background images. Choose a colour scheme that reflects your audience’s preferences – not your own. Excellent understanding of your target market’s preferences is crucial here.
  • Typography – Use fonts that are easy to read for your target market
  • Layout – Create a clear navigation structure and place page elements so they are easy to read and even easier to find the required information. Use colour, bullet lists, section headers, and pull quotes to highlight important points. Remember that a visitor will not dig beyond 3-4 pages into your site to find what they are looking for.
  • Images and Multimedia – Be careful with images and multimedia. Multimedia should complement your site and reinforce your message – not annoy nor distract visitors. They must offer additional value!
  • Consistent branding – All colours, fonts, layout and images need to reinforce the brand messaging in a consistent manner. You have spent a lot of time building brand loyalty, let’s not dilute that on the web site.

So after we get the visitors past the first gate (visual appeal and credible site), they must now be able to find the information that they were looking for in the first place. This content must also be written in a way that builds trust and is easy to read. This needs to be written from the point of view of a human (a prospect or a customer) reading and not some SEO engine. If the content is not doing its job to provide value and to engage the visitor, then all of the best search engine rankings aren’t going to help convince them to interact with you.

If we design the site using these world class principals, then your visitors will find your site and hence your company to be:

  • Credible
  • Trustworthy
  • Professional
  • Stable company
  • Welcoming
  • And that the visitor has landed in the right place!

Here are a couple of examples of sites that we have designed that meet all of the above principals.

Contact us for more examples and how we can build your credible site!