What very few people admits openly when visiting a webpage is 'I don't trust them.' This is a natural and healthy reaction to any new page, since I have no idea who, and with what intentions stands behind it. During the first encounter the visceral level of the human judgmental system has only one question: ‘Solution or rip-off?’ Those website that fail to provide a reassuring answer fail at this very first stage. Not much point in fiddling with colours and text after that.
Due to its intangible nature, the low trust level is prevalent in the online world. There, I'm not provided with a face, gesture, or personality, and, more importantly, what I would read from these: the intention of the other party. This information is something which I usually scan and analyse in my head when meeting someone. Even though I can be easily wrong, the simple availability of these information gives me a sense of control over upcoming events.
All of the usual information required to figure out the intention of the other party is missing online by default. Hence, building creditability in this environment is a different sort of art. Mimicking offline strategies in the online world is generally a bad idea, but there are approached that can make matters even worse. Here are ten of t the most popular mistakes to avoid for those who is planning to design a long term relationship with the visitors:
- Showing artworks without explanation. The six-feet-under level of trust your visitors come in with can be lowered further by not providing any words either. You might decide to put a piece of spectacular artwork on the main page accompanied by a single button. Not a word about what the artwork is, why it was built, who can use it and how, and just mentioning off to the side who you are. A single, unexplained artwork presented in the online environment is not capable of building credibility, because anything which is not backed up simply will not be believed. That also means that the more spectacular this artwork is, the less believable it will be. The more gigantic it is, the less authentic it appears. Simply because anonymity allows shameless deception. Without you proving that you have the resources to create such a work, it appears as some meaningless decoration ordered from an agency for good money.
- Going with contemporary. Yeah, it looks fresh and gives a sense of innovation. But even the only contemporary wave which was able to reach a wider audience in the last decades, minimalism, has met severe misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Unfortunately, contemporary art uses so extreme level of abstraction that it is not followable or translatable without relevant studies. Hence, contemporary art is understood mostly by contemporary artists only. I might just look confused about what you possibly wanted to say with those two lines in the hoop.
- Calling yourself 'We' and me 'Client'. How shall I put it? When you say 'We are ... we do... we think... we believe...,' you exclude me and everyone else who is not 'You.' This separation puts me on the opposite side, making it clear that 'You' do it for 'Yourself' and I'm the 'Client' standing in the middle of a sales stream with a wallet to be opened. I know you want to show strength and volume, but how would you like to have three shop assistants jump on you while you are browsing in a shop, pouring the shop's features and achievement on you to convince you to buy. That's the typical situation online, too, when a company thinks they need to convince the visitors instead of getting them involved. Well, I'm just one of those people who won’t talk if don't feel listened to, so if the page is all about 'You,' I am probably done.
- Mystifying the message. Just how believable is it that there is no better solution on the whole planet, certainly not one with a matching price and quality with 100% satisfaction guaranteed, which is also magical, used by millions of people all around the word, and will change my whole life in a second with just two clicks and, of course, in a fast and easy way due to that game-changing secret now revealed… - heh, got it? I made a sentence out of these crap. 😀
- Taking over my mouse. Attaching an effect to my mouse without my consent provokes an emotional response similar to having someone grab my wrist while I am reaching for a product in a shop. Very abrupt interaction and very unwelcome. Do you want to show how creative your team is and how much money you can afford to spend on animation? Then include a button or a switch where I can turn the effect on and off. But don't touch my mouse, never touch my mouse. My mouse is me, my control, my move, my freedom. You touch it, you die (picture my deadliest Vader look here). 😀