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How Organizations Can Build Trust Into Their User Experience

The last few years have shown us the business impact of forsaking the trust element in user experience design.

By Guido Wagner, Chief Development Architect and Andrea Waisgluss, Content Strategist, SAP Design

The last few years have shown us the business impact of forsaking the trust element in user experience design. Back in 2017 when Hurricane Irma was approaching Florida, airlines were accused of unethically hiking up prices, something that was chalked up to price-calculating algorithms. Even when it may be legally sound to raise airfares prior to an upcoming hurricane, is it ethically sound for a company to profit from a dangerous situation?

A recent Qualtrics study revealed that 79% of consumers believe brand actions have a significant impact on trust, with the top drivers of trust being taking care of customers, and you guessed it, not taking advantage of a crisis.

That kind of scenario might not look like much of a design challenge, but it very much is. Where artificial intelligence (AI) solutions are used, it turns out that it’s not good enough for companies to blame the technology. Humans always need to be in control and informed about the potential impact of an AI-based decision, as well as have the power to ultimately override the algorithm. That’s called responsible design, and it has a bottom line.Trust is the new UX paradigm

The last few years have transformed the way we understand software design, and expectations are higher than ever. Software needs to be useful and intuitive. People want to enjoy working with it, and more and more users expect the design to be inclusive and accessible to as many users as possible. But, additionally, people expect to be able to trust in what the software does – or to be more precise, to trust the company and the people that provide the software.

The quadrumvirate of AI ethics, business ethics, security and data, and legal compliance can be used to cultivate users’ trustSAP

Building trust into the user experience is a complex task. It involves aspects such as transparency – How safe is the users’ data? Do users know if they are interacting with a human or a machine? – and options such as, can they opt out of talking to a machine if they wish to do so?

Simultaneously, cultural and ethical aspects of human behavior and business have to be taken into consideration not only by designers but by algorithms as well. AI and business ethics need to go hand-in-hand to ensure the trust of all users. Additionally, there should not be a discrepancy between these aspects and the local legal requirements. Security and safety measures are essential to avoid any breach of trust.Bringing it all together – how organizations can introduce responsible design

Trust is not something that magically happens between a software and a user. It is the result of a conscious decision made by an organization to embed ethical behavior into every aspect of the user experience. In this sense, designing trust in the age of AI is not the task of an individual or a team, it needs to be an organizational characteristic, ingrained in the corporate culture.

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