What makes people trust companies with their personal data and their money? Customer trust is an ever problematic issue for brands. It is harder than ever to build it and easier than ever to lose it. This happens because the level of interactions between customers and companies has gone to unparalleled depths.

Customer-Brand Interactions, Closer and More Problematic Than Ever

In the past, companies could reach people through newspaper, radio and TV ads. Nowadays, people are exposed to messages and ads on their smartphones as they browse social media or read their emails during their commute, in their office and even when they are on vacation.

To up the ante, companies are now inviting customers to install dedicated apps on their mobile, making them a constant presence in the customer’s life. Whenever they swipe through their installed apps, they see your brand logo. Whenever they want to communicate with your customer service or sales department, they use your mobile or web app.

And, on many occasions, whatever trust you have built through traditional or digital marketing strategies is lost once the customer starts using your app. This happens due to inadequate UX design.

Why UX Design Matters So Much

UX design for mobile and web apps is the new art director for print ads. The first impression lasts shorter than ever and is indelible. What is worse, every app in every app store has a long trail of user reviews attached to it. While in the past customer’s dissatisfaction was silent and simply expressed by not doing business with a company, right now it is a public expression which influences other potential customers’ decisions to install or not to install your app.

When we discuss UX design, we must understand what it means for the end user. Good UX design gives customers the sense that:

  • they are doing business with a company which is honest in all its claims;
  • their browsing and shopping experience will be smooth, simple and hassle-free;
  • their personal and financial data is protected against theft and unauthorized use.

How do you translate these notions into UX design? Here are a few considerations to keep in mind during the development phase of your app:

1. Aesthetics Really Matter

There is such a strong focus on great functionality that many developers seem to forget that aesthetics and functionality can and should coexist. In life, we start with a good impression on attractive people, beautiful buildings and cars. It is human nature to equal beauty and aesthetics with positive, good qualities. The same judgment applies to apps.

No matter how fast and smoothly your app works, a clunky, crowded or “loud” look will put people off even before they start testing it. In terms of aesthetics in UX design, there is a lot to be learned from Apple – they have really pushed this aspect of all their products and digital properties beyond the highest standards. Currently, everything Apple is the standard in great design and user experience.

2. Avoid Dark Patterns

Dark patterns have nothing to do with actual colors. They represent an unfortunately common tactic of tricking users into doing something that they do not really want to. It could be something as simple as leaving the box for newsletter subscription checked when a new user signs up on your app. It should be their choice to make – if they want to receive newsletters or not. The idea behind setting those boxes checked by default is that users will not bother to uncheck them. This is a dark pattern and it is one of those things which erode customers’ trust.

3. Be Consistent Throughout the Design

An app is deemed as reliable if people can predict the functionality of certain elements and if these elements have consistently the same look and behavior throughout the app. For example, if the user can access a portion of the app by tapping on a drop down menu, but need to use one of the phone buttons to navigate back to the previous screen, this is an inconsistency.

People love predictability – they want to access the functions they are interested in over and over again without having to guess every step of the process.

4. Embrace Transparency in Your Design

Trust is built naturally when customers believe that companies are not hiding information from them. One way in which UX design helps build trust is by offering easy access to portions of the app which deal with legal information, privacy policy and the disclaimer for users. Even if they do not spend time reading all the paragraphs contained in these sections of your app, users will note the easy access to them and be reassured that your company is honest and upfront with them.

When everything in your UX design works well, the average user will feel confident about installing and using your company app. And they will even take the time to share their positive experience on the app page, helping your organization gain more positive ratings and persuade more people to install your app.