Dan Antonson is the founder of the Revived Group, a web designer whose forte is trust and credibility studies. We asked a few questions that new technology companies can implement to improve their web presence.
CleanTechies: New technology companies are known for something called “vaporware,” i.e., outlandish promises for devices and software that may or may not work. How do you inspire confidence in a new product that’s largely unproven on the web?
Dan Antonson: Stanford’s Persuasion Technology Lab did something about what people find credible online. And really what it comes down to is the graphic design, the way they position their company and the way they report their information.
People really don’t read a lot of things. All the research that’s out there shows that people really don’t spend a lot of time looking at the data. It just comes down to the graphic design.
For new technology, I know there isn’t a lot of data to support it. But anything and everything helps. If you can get a great testimonial or recommendation, whether from someone who has used it that shows the results, people will put a lot of weight on that.
CleanTechies: What’s the most important element a web site must have?
Dan Antonson: What always amazes me is (when a site) doesn’t have a real world feel. There’s no address, their contact information is buried somewhere, no real names, no pictures, and the question people ask is, “Who are you?” People automatically think (the company) is hiding something, that there’s something not quite right.
CleanTechies: Any fonts that you think inspire trust?
Dan Antonson: Helvetica. It’s a font style that is the standard for fonts. And it’s used a lot. As soon as you see it, you’ll recognize it. That’s a font that is so clean and catches your eye.
I try to stay away from scripted fonts because they’re hard to read. With design, really simple is better, and it’ll always be like that. Consumers are demanding simplicity.