Measuring trust

I recently came across an interview with Tom Loosemore, co-founder of the UK’s Government Digital Service. Asked whether an improvement in service delivery is enough to regain the public's confidence in government, he says:

There is currently a gigantic gap between service quality in government and service quality in the best of the commercial world. The wider that gap gets, the bigger the distrust in government becomes. The result of this is dangerous: just look at recent elections around the world. Our only hope is to make government serve its people in a way they expect it to – efficiently and empathetically.

I’m always surprised that many organizations don’t seem to understand that their digital products are actually services. If you have a website, it exists to help people complete tasks and find information. You’re providing a service.

Just as poor service design erodes trust in government, people will distrust a company that makes it difficult to interact with them online.

There’s no better way to signal to people that you just don’t care than to make it hard for them to complete the tasks that are most important to them. Smiling people in stock photos and cheerful copy just makes the insult worse.

Interaction design is linked to trust. And once you realize that design and trust are interwoven, you start to view your analytics differently.

You look at things like your website’s bounce rate, time on site, average number of pages per visit, form submissions … they all become contributing factors in an assessment of your audience’s trust in you.

Thanks for reading,


Kyle Bowen