Using Authority To Build Trust In Your Digital Experiences

Authority is about influencing behaviour through credibility. People are more likely to take action if the message comes from a credible and authoritative source. That’s why you’ll hear people name dropping and it’s also what drives retweets on Twitter.

How to use it

We all look to guidance and direction. Experiences should communicate confidence and assurance. In an uncertain or new space the presence of an authority figure will reassure people.

Demonstrate the knowledge and experience a business has in it’s area of expertise to build confidence and reassure people.  Consider demonstrating authority through showing social activity, people tend to follow the behaviour patterns of people like them.

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Hillary’s Responsive

device-mockup_hillarys

Client

Hillary’s have led the way in window dressings for more than 40 years.  With a turnover of 150 Million and over 1000 advisors covering Great Britain they fit everything from blinds to carpets.  However, Hillary’s existing digital platform had been designed for a desktop market, with a half way house small screen solution in place.

My role

Lead User Experience Architect

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The importance of empathy in user experience design

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For me, the definition of great user experience is when people don’t have to think about an object, they just use it.

In order for us to design online experiences that can be used ‘without thought’, the insights that drive our design solutions need to be derived from understanding people and their experiences, behaviours, perceptions and needs.

Here, empathy is key.

The different types of empathy

Philosopher Roman Krznaric outlines two definitions of empathy: affective empathy and cognitive empathy.

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Building (more) empathy into your UX

“Never create an experience you wouldn’t want your own family to have”

Ted Booth11 Rules For Great UX Design, Adapted From An Original Mad Man

Sometimes it can be hard to feel empathy with a products ends users.  A lot of the projects I work on for example, are unlikely to effect me directly, nor will I be likely to use the site.

There’s the given ways to build empathy with users through techniques such as interviews, personas and testing. However, I find the above quote is great inspiration to create the best experience possible.  I only wan’t the best experience possible for my family.

Another technique, which Ben Holliday discussed at the recent NUX3 conference, is for design teams to ask So what if. Holliday works on gov.uk and recently his team have been tasked with refining the form carers have to complete to apply for financial support from the Government.  One way the team built empathy with their target users was to ask So what if.

So what if;

  • I needed full time support to be a carer?
  • It was my child with a disability?

So, here we have two quick and interesting ways to build empathy into your UX and design work and to create a better user experience.  I have stopped more than once to tweak something I am working on when I think in this way.  I like to think someone, somewhere has had a better experience as a result.

Learn a lot about a little

“Use research to learn a lot about a little”

Dr. David Travis, User Focus

Recently I attended NUX3, where Dr. David Travis did a brilliant talk on the seven deadly sins of user research.  One thing that really stood out for me was that user research should be used to learn a lot about little.  In David’s words; The more you cram into a dishwasher the less that comes out clean.

David suggest writing your questions on post it notes, grouping these into themes using an affinity diagram and then prioritising your most important questions.

It’s all about build > measure > learn > repeat.