A group of hands in together

Insights: Build trust throughout your digital products

We have produced this four part guide hoping that the insights we have gained from working with young people can benefit others. As a charity not a commercial organisation, we want to share what we have learned. If we can help you add value to your own digital products through sharing what we have learned about what young people want from digital products, we are keen to do so. The insights from the young people who have steered our process can benefit anyone developing products or services for young people. Find all the insights on the My Best Life homepage.

Build trust throughout your digital product

Having good information is one thing, but trust in your site will make or break engagement – both with the content and with your organisation. It is like a shop window display. If it is rough around the edges, then many will avoid it. The same applies for online information.

Young people need to trust the app or website first before they are willing to share any personal information with it or create an account.

How is trust built?

Trust is built up through the look of the app or website, people’s experience when interacting with it, the accuracy of the information featured, who referred them to the app or website in the first place and recommendations within the app from other young people. For example, seeing a recommendation via an advert within an app they already trusted would make them trust the recommendation more. They would not expect the app to send them somewhere ‘dodgy’.

Trust is also built over time and your requests for personal information should reflect that. One way young people build up trust in a product is by seeing the value or benefit of a product first, before having to share any personal information with the product.

What makes a page trustworthy? Lots of images, for one thing, and stuff about what their mission is and what they’re trying to do, and contact information, that sort of stuff.

User tester

Trust building feature: onboarding process

We tested different routes to accessing our app. One included being forced to do a quiz initially before getting to see the results, and the other had the quiz as an optional extra. Onboarding should focus on showcasing the value of the app, rather than obtaining personal information.

Tip: This could mean having the option explore and then sign up to account once you want to action something. The young people gave the example of Just Eat, where they can look at food options first and only need to sign up if they want to place an order.

Tip: Alternatively, it could also mean having the option to explore the app as a ‘guest’. Forcing users to sign up to an account straight away can be a big barrier to engagement.

Trust building feature: about us pages

Most young people don’t see an About Us page as particularly important, but some individuals do consider it to be a key piece of evidence when trying to understand whether to trust the app.

Some said the About Us page would be one of the first things they looked at because it would be vital for showing them that the app is trustworthy. Others said they would only look at that page if they had been using the app for a while and were bored. During our user testing however, young people only explored the about us page when prompted, suggesting it is not something that is crucial when first exploring an app.

Trust building feature: reviews from others. 

Reviews are a good source of trust that the service is going to do what it says it will. It helps individuals to see that someone like them has had positives outcomes from the service. Young people did however prefer user generated reviews, rather than handpicked quotes, as it was felt that they were more authentic.

How is trust lost?

Trust is lost if they see “weird” URLs, spelling mistakes, poor-quality images or “fuzzy logos”, and out-of-date websites. They believe that a website that looks “fresh” will have better security.

Additionally, having mobile numbers for services rather than a landline was seen as less trustworthy.

You need to look for spelling mistakes, clickable links… look at the URL.

Young person steering group member.

I wouldn’t trust a mobile number-or an email that wasn’t companyname.org.uk

Young person steering group member.