Why Websites Need To Capture Customer Trust

November 23, 2005

Once a year, I do charitable giving. (It’s easier that way, I can really allocate money instead of just saying, this one seems worthwhile, that one seems worthwhile.) This past weekend, I made all my choices and today I sat down to make the donations online.

Two big companies, Kintera and Convio, are fighting for the e-philanthropy space, and with their help, most charities have great sites and even better shopping carts. So the process was pretty painless.

Then I pulled up a site belonging to a cause that I really care about, the Women’s Center and Shelter of Pittsburgh. Not only was their site not wonderful, but their shopping cart was awful. It was simple enough, but the name of the page was really the name of their shopping cart company, and the page itself had font that was enormous. It looked like my nephew had designed it. The worst part is, I might not have noticed the misnamed page if they hadn’t have pointed it out. The site even said that I could try to look at the checkout page through their own site but then I would get a security warning. In other words, no matter how I did it, it was going to look suspicious to me.

Getting customers (or donors) to hand over their credit card numbers requires a lot of things. It really requires that you design your site to create great trust. Here was a cause that I already know, and I just couldn’t trust their site — they practically designed it as untrustworthy!