How to build trust with your audience?

Building trust with your audience is vital for successful user research. Strengthen your brand, be human, provide context, and actively listen to create a positive relationship.

Building trust with your audience is vital for successful user research. Strengthen your brand, be human, provide context, and actively listen to create a positive relationship.

User Engagement

Jonathan Scanzi

May 10, 2023

A few weeks ago, I was on a call with a friend who is a designer in a big tech company in the United States. We discussed the importance of user interviews and how to get the best insights from users. My friend shared an interesting observation with me: users often give their most valuable feedback at the end of the discussion. This may not surprise some of you, as people become more comfortable and confident when conversing they start to be more honest and open with the feedback and suggestions.

However, it can not be easy to build trust and credibility with someone you have never met, especially if you only have few minutes to speak with them. That's why this article will explore some of the best ways to build user trust during an interview. It is important to note that the content in this article is based on our own experiences and insights as a product team.

Your brand, your testament

The first idea here is centered around your brand and how important and powerful it is to build trust with your users. Let's start with the hypothesis that users are more likely to trust persons representing a brand they already know and love. This happens due to the feeling of closeness with someone or when you feel that you belong to the same community or same preferences. This also happens when a friend of friends already interact with the brand and it comes as a recommendation.

Design is the silent ambassador of your brand. — Paul Rand

To illustrate this point, let me share to you a personal anecdote. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by an UX researcher at Pitch. I went into the interview feeling very confident, largely because I already loved the brand. Pitch is an organization that is highly skilled at what they do, and we share the same values, so it was easy for me to be honest and give my best effort to help them create a great product, even though I didn't directly know the person who interviewed me before.

In a user research context, a good brand has the potential to quickly generate trust among users, which can be key to ensure that the research is successful and the final product is well-received.

How do you get until there?
• Be consistent in all your online and offline presence and all your channel of communication.
• Create a solid brand with a credible and lasting concept behind it.
• Communication and design have to be aligned and allies.
• You and your team also represent your brand, make sure you represent it well.
• Your brand, your testament, make sure you follow it to the letter.

Be human

Being a good designer is not just about creating beautiful things, follow methodologies or be a psychologist; it's also about cultivating empathy and understand your users. Empathy has the ability to connect with them and plays a crucial role to build trust and credibility. Being kind, friendly, and pleasant can go a long way toward establishing this trust with users.

But how do you develop these qualities? One way is to really take the time to understand your users and put you in their shoes. Be a good UX researcher, and push your team to be one too. Analyze users also outside job in your daily life. How user behave on the subway, at your local coffee shop, in the supermarket, are these behaviors helping to discover your product?

Build trust and credibility takes time and effort, but it's critical to being a good UX researcher. By cultivating empathy, you'll be on your way to develop the skills you need to succeed. So why not start today?

Give context, context, context

When conducting user research through an interview, take the time to give context to your users. This is essential to help them understand why you are interviewing them, what are your expectations, and your plan for the future. Remember bring context is different to suggest their answers, you have to be careful not to cross that fine line.

Also, make sure that the interviewee is feeling comfortable and be clear and repeat to them that they are not being tested and there are no right or wrong answers. This is key to build trust during and after the interview. But also when launching an in-app survey to collect user feedback. Check out our examples to create in-app surveys in Figma.

The point of these tools is to Understand user's reality and feelings regarding a particular situation or when using a specific product. You want them to be confident and relaxed throughout the interview, so it's essential to remember them that you are doing this to help you to make better decisions, and not to judge or evaluate them.

Therefore, take your time to prepare the interview and make sure that the user has all the information they need to feel comfortable during the interview.

Active Listening

This is law of any product! Active listen to your customer and users. Either collecting user feedback or doing user research or user tests. Active listening involves paying attention to the whole journey of the user and make them feel part of process. By doing this you are showing them that their feedback and experiences are valued and you are genuinely interested in understanding their perspective.

This help you to build trust and create a safe space for users to share their thoughts and feelings, leading to more in-depth and meaningful insights. Additionally, by listening actively, you can gather more accurate and relevant data, which can inform the product team to meet the users' needs. Active listening is essential for any UX researcher to create user-centric products and services.

A study conducted by UserTesting found that when users feel they are being heard and their feedback is taken seriously, they are more likely to think positively about the product or service and become loyal customers. This highlights the importance of active listening in obtaining accurate insights and building a positive relationship with users that can lead to long-term success for the product or service.

In conclusion

To build trust and credibility with users is crucial to create user-centric products and services. It's important for UX researchers and designers understand the power of the brand, be empathetic and friendly, give context to users, and active listen to them.

Researchers can create a safe space where users feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences. As the famous designer and architect Charles Eames once said, "Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as to accomplish a particular purpose best". To accomplish that purpose, designers must prioritize building trust with their users and ensuring their products meet their needs.

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