The adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” may hold good for people (and books), but first impressions tend to be lasting impressions when it comes to the Internet and online branding. Hence, the focus on UX elements of websites.

Given that your website is often the first point of contact new customers will have with your brand, your website must establish your credibility enough that they feel safe in transacting with you.

A professionally designed, easy-to-navigate website reflects the effort you have put into creating a good browsing experience, which makes it likelier that your products and services have the same high quality. It is also a crucial step in building your brand community.

In this guide, we discuss in detail the three key UX elements that reflect your brand’s credibility — namely usability, the About Us section, and social proof:

Usability

1. Speed

If your website pages take more than two seconds to load, your customer is likely to become impatient and exit the window. Test your site design for loading speed and make adjustments (such as reducing image resolution) so that it loads rapidly across all devices, operating systems, and browsers.

2. Content

Website content that has not been updated in a long time, such as promotional offers from six months ago, does not reflect well on a site’s trustworthiness either for the customer or for a search engine bot.

Keep refreshing your content to reflect the latest news and statistics, company updates, and limited-period offers or product availability, and be sure to keep the language simple enough for a general audience.

Content freshness determines your domain authority — search engines rate updated website content for freshness higher than those websites where the content does not change. Hence, constantly optimize your ecommerce site for SERPs.

Content also includes other links that your pages lead to. Therefore, be sure that none of those links are broken or spammy. Besides, have clear calls-to-action wherever relevant and make sure your text is in a clear and legible font.

3. Navigation

Once your target audience reaches your homepage, they need to be able to get to the pages they are looking for easily.

Have a prominent search bar on every page and make sure that each page element is arranged in a sequence that makes sense. Drop-down menus should be comprehensive, and each item should be listed in clear, simple language.

4. Accessibility

The ADA requires all websites to be optimized for easy use by customers with physical and neurological disabilities. Run a quick test to see whether your site meets the ADA compliance requirements, and get a consultant’s help if necessary to make the adjustments.

Things like clearly legible text, video/audio subtitles, and alt tags for images will, in fact, improve the user experience for all individuals — differently-abled or not  — and also help your site rank higher in search results. Hence making accessibility one of the important UX elements for every website.

5. SSL

Most buyers nowadays will look for the HTTPS in the website address bar and the green lock. You get these from purchasing an SSL certificate, an absolute must for site security — and yes, Google also considers this parameter while assigning ranks.

website security SSL as UX element

Besides, it would be best if you had a firewall in place to block unauthorized traffic, a privacy policy that promises not to share customer information, and two-factor authentication.

Given how prolific cybercrime has become, especially on eCommerce sites, you can never do too much when it comes to site security. Get an SSL certificate today!

About Us Section

1. Contact Information

Your website should have a physical address, telephone number, and email address mentioned, either on a separate contact page or at the footer of your site. This assures your customers that you are a real business and also helps with your search engine rankings.

Having a phone number and email address also shows that you want to hear from your target audience, and you want to make it easy for them, which further establishes your site’s trustworthiness.

2. Brand Story

How did your brand come about? What is the story behind your product or service? What motivates you to do what you do?

Having a page that talks about these things helps build a connection with your customers, who see you as a genuine team of individuals rather than a faceless company.

The more customers can relate to the how and why of your brand, the likelier they are to want to buy from you.

Yellow Leaf Hammocks has a well-crafted “About us” page that shares the entire story of how the company used to be, their comfortable hand woven hammocks, and the original Thai weavers who bring the products to life.

Brand story as UX element

Source: Captured from Yellow Leaf Hammock

3. Team Faces

Putting a face to the business you run allows customers to see exactly who they will be working with and adds that personal touch. This is particularly important if your business requires one-on-one calls, business meetings, or home visits.

Add brief bios for each member, including qualifications and experience and personal details like hobbies and family. People attract people.

Social Proof

1. Trust Badges

If customers transact on your website with their credit card information, having trust badges from reputed third-party authorities is critical.

These badges show that your website has been verified as a legitimate one and serves to reassure your customers, particularly now that hacking has become common. Some of the most reliable trust badges include McAfee, PayPal, Norton Secured, Verisign, and BBB.

Website trust badges as UX element

2. Clear Buying Policies

You should highlight any guarantees or warranties you provide to your customers (such as a one-year product warranty or guarantee refunds on canceled orders) on your product pages or in the website footer.

This includes clear mention of any cases where the guarantees do not hold. Taking this step will clarify things for the customers and avoid any legal disputes for you later.

Moreover, one of the top reasons consumers abandon their carts during checkout is hidden shipping costs and tax charges.

top cart abandonment reasons

Source: Captured from Pack & Send infographic

Such unforeseen costs frustrate consumers, which could tarnish your brand image in the long run. It might be worth including your delivery cost estimation on the product pages so that they do not get shocked at seeing the total costs at the last stage of the buying cycle.

You will appear as a genuine brand if you are up-front about your pricing. Hiding costs would not take your brand very far!

3. Awards

If you have won any significant awards by industry bodies or specific areas like customer service, mention those on your website. It would be best if you also highlighted any positive mentions in the press on the website.

4. Case Studies

These are detailed accounts of a challenge that your business helped a customer overcome. Typically, you would write these in collaboration with your customer so that their side of the story shines through and showcases you as the ultimate solutions provider for your target audience’s pain points.

5. Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials from happy customers go a long way in setting you up as a brand to trust. Therefore, encourage your customers to leave reviews for you online, particularly ones that describe the challenges you helped them overcome.

Wherever possible, ask your customers to share a photo or video of themselves with their testimonial for extra credibility. Professional reviews from high-authority websites or influencers in your domain can also boost your credibility.

Boost Your Site’s Trustworthiness

The above-mentioned UX elements (and their sub-elements) define the credibility of every website. How you approach the specifics is in your hands. However, the underlying principles remain valid. Try to incorporate them all into your website slowly, and you will witness a considerable boost in your website traffic (and conversions).