The Cornerstone of Web Design: Building Blocks for Brand Authenticity and Trust

A designer strategizing user pathways on a white board.

In a traditional setting, without the vast spaces that a digital environment allows, authenticity and trust were more of a tangible quality that customers or clients could see and feel. With this confidence factor, consumers were easily able to make informed decisions, purchases and build relationships based on face-to-face interaction with the product, service or brand representative themselves.

Today – with much of business being conducted over some sort of digital divide, be it eCommerce, project management or video conference – there is a level of trust that must be lent from each side in order to fulfill a successful transition leading to a sustained relationship.

That trust is a cornerstone of web design, something most people will intuitively feel is that they would only initiate conversation or do business with brands that are trustworthy. Trust is instrumental in creating social cohesion and can be viewed as the glue that holds brands and consumers together.

One of the biggest questions for organizations operating online is how to not only give the perception of brand authenticity but actually BE authentic. With users across the globe, the viability of a business rests on user experience and the resulting presence of trust in the digital environment. A certain amount of handholding, though nuanced, should be translated into a user journey that takes the customer from the first impression to conversion – this process should be seamless, but by design to foster a true connection.

How leading brands build trust through authenticity?

Authenticity breeds trust, you cannot have one without the other. Brand development for an ‘”authentic voice and pretty visuals” is not enough. Consumers today can see right through a manufactured, even fabricated veil of feigned authenticity. These tactics, while effective to pique the interest of a prospective audience, will only result in lost conversions and poor engagement, the ultimate downfall of the brand. In the true pursuit of authenticity, a brand must realize that to gain the holy grail of customer loyalty, being trusted, all components must be present inclusive of honesty, integrity, and transparency. Only then, can trust be extended, bounce rate decreased and user experience design goals achieved.

Strategically, any digital representation of a brand or organization should include the aforementioned elements. When designing an interface for both visual and contextual assets, the building blocks to reach the desired outcome include consistency, a clear value proposition and a concise but conversational tone. Style and tonality that is cohesive in both visual and narrative elements. The comfort level of the user is of utmost importance, and through easy to understand but informational language – they will get questions answers and problems solved quickly and with the least amount of work.

Because earning the trust of the consumer on the web isn’t a given, brands must follow a purposeful approach to implementing strategies. Through the use of brand and content development, UX design strategies, user journey mapping and usability testing – connections will be more easily made and value heightened.