How to create trust with your audience to get more user insights?

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, as people become more comfortable and confident when conversing. However, it cannot be easy to establish trust and confidence with someone you have never met, especially if you only have a few minutes to speak with them. 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 not purely academic but is based on our own experiences and insights.


The power of the brand to create trust

The first idea presented in this text is centered around the concept of brand power and its potential to create trust with users. The hypothesis is that users are likelier to trust individuals representing a brand they already know and love. This is due to the fact that feeling a sense of closeness with someone you don't know is often made easier when you know that you belong to the same community.

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

To illustrate this point, let me share 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. In a user research context, a good brand has the potential to quickly generate trust among users, which can be invaluable in ensuring that the research is successful and the resulting product is well-received.


Be human, and you will create trust easily

Being a good designer is not just about methodology or psychology; it's also about cultivating empathy and being a good human. Empathy is the ability to connect easily with another person and plays a critical role in building user confidence. Being kind, friendly, and pleasant can go a long way toward establishing trust with users.

But how do you develop these qualities? One way is to practice being a good human every day, in both your personal and professional life. For example, you can practice being friendly and approachable in everyday interactions, whether with coworkers, strangers on the subway, or baristas at your local coffee shop.

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


Give context, Give context, Give context.

When conducting an interview, taking the time to give context to your users is essential. Doing this can help them understand why you are interviewing them, your expectations, and your plan for the results. This will make the interviewee more comfortable and help them know that they are not being tested and that there are no right or wrong answers. Understanding their reality and feelings regarding a particular situation or context is critical. You want them to be confident and relaxed throughout the interview, so it's essential to avoid reminding them of school or other potentially stressful situations. Remember, the goal of the interview is to gather information and insights that will help you to make better decisions, not to judge or evaluate the interviewee. Therefore, take your time and ensure the user has all the information they need to feel comfortable during the interview.


Active Listening

When conducting user interviews, listening actively to the interviewee is crucial to create a sense of trust and confidence. Active listening involves paying attention to the speaker, clarifying any confusion, and responding thoughtfully to what is being said. By actively listening to the user, you are showing them that their opinions and experiences are valued and you are genuinely interested in understanding their perspective. This can 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 design of products and services that meet the needs of your users. Active listening during user interviews is essential for any UX researcher or designer looking 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 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, building trust with users during interviews is crucial for UX researchers and designers looking to create user-centric products and services. By understanding the power of the brand, being empathetic and friendly, giving context to users, and actively listening 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.

Jonathan Scanzi

Jonathan is the CEO of Told and the lead designer. He has worked on digital products in many industries for over ten years. Specializing in user-centered design methodology, he dedicated his time today to building a tool to help teams to be user-centered by collecting user feedback. He aims to help companies connect with their users more engagingly to construct honest and robust relationships.