Trust by Design


Keeping your customers on your side

Download the full workshop spec (PDF) »


This one day workshop is for product creators (designers, developers, and managers)—who want to understand why customers often lose trust in their services and how to make decisions based on keeping that trust. The instructor will lead the class through a series of developmental exercises that illustrate the nine principles of trust by design.


Trust is easy to gain but just as easy to lose. It’s our nature to quickly decide whether we trust a product or not based on its appearance, and a poor experience with the product can taint that trust forever for the product and the company that produced it.
Pew Research Center recently stated that, “Trust has not been having a good run in recent years, and there is considerable concern that people’s uses of the internet are a major contributor to the problem.“ Although much of this trust deficit is due to insecure technologies and deceptive content, design also plays an important role in people’s perception of trust in online communication.


Design serves a single primary purpose: to gain the trust of its intended audience. Research shows that within the first second of viewing a design—even before reading a single word—we have already determined our opinion about the likely quality and trustworthiness of what we are looking at. Once that basic line of trust is established, it is only then that the experience design can work to help turn data into knowledge and knowledge into understanding. However, a poor user experience can serve to turn the user off over time as they begin to distrust the product or even the entire brand.
Explaining design decisions to non-designers is a challenge. What I’ve come to realize over the years, though, is that the decisions I make are not just instinctual. They are based on what I feel will appeal to my audience’s sense of trust. That is, what will make them feel most comfortable and trusting in my designs.

Who this is for

Trust By Design is for designers and non-designers alike who want to better understand the criteria that go into making a great and trustworthy design. This can include anyone who is part of the product creation process or anyone who has anything to do with the end users experience, including developers, marketers, and even the helpline operator.

Students will learn…

  • How to explain seemingly arbitrary product design decisions based on the trust principles discussed
  • Win the trust of audiences
  • Keep the trust of audiences
  • Craft product and design decisions
  • Create memorable experiences

Download the full workshop spec (PDF) »