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I've been recently told that users don't care about certain information or find the website (consequently, the company) suspicious or questionable when the following info are stated:

  1. Number of subscribers. We saw a lot of this in the 90s and early 2000s. Of course a website wants to come across as popular, but now, I hear that people don't care about this statistic.
  2. Anything claiming the best in the industry. Even if it's true and universally known, we're supposed to avoid phrases like "Your #1 ..." or "The world's top...". If we are to avoid these,what other ways can we convey that the company is exceptional?
  3. List of Prominent Companies Using The Website's Services. This seems to be another show-off ploy, according to many, and after all, users supposedly only care about the website meeting their own needs. What other ways can we portray that the website/company is reputable?
  4. Social Network Icons. This is a new one for me. I thought putting icons that link to the company's (at least) Facebook, Google, and Twitter accounts is the thing to do nowadays. Some say that the larger the icons, and the closer they are to the top of the page, the more repulsive to users in general. I also noticed (upon visiting random sites that sell products and services) that they shrunk their social network icons and/or put them in less-prominent locations (like at the footer or sidebar).
  5. Testimonials Above The Fold. For me, as soon as I see these on main page first load, the website is probably a scam. It could seem like they're trying to hide a weakness or deficiency of their offerings with subjective positive feedback from users (if even actually from a user).
  6. Any Awards Won. I have seen less and less of this over the last few years. Again, this is one that users supposedly don't care about.

There are probably more things we're not supposed to include [anymore]. Wow. I'll end up with a blank website sooner or later. The only thing I can put is the company logo.

It seems like society's psyche has changed, so what, then, do we [not] put on a website?

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2  
Regarding point #4: ia.net/blog/sweep-the-sleaze –  cimmanon Feb 22 at 15:19
    
It probably isn't so much about the information in and of itself, but the tendency to put it "in your face" that sparks unease. Most points you raised can be addressed by addressing why. What makes you exceptional, why is it significant that company X is one of your customers and what made them pick your product. Not addressing that indeed does seem like shouting and showing off and hoping some of X's fame and reputation will rub off on you. –  Marjan Venema Feb 22 at 15:44
    
I don't really agree with you. 1,2 and 6 can really convince users to buy your product. Whether the user believes it or not is more of a marketing question than an UX question I think. –  Kweamod Feb 22 at 20:18
    
I don't fully agree with all of the above I mentioned, either, and I'm leaning toward reluctantly implementing parts of them to some degree. There seems to be a fine line between marketing and usability, though. –  Mickael Caruso Feb 22 at 20:20
    
Anything which makes a site look 'home made' tends to put me off. Which is a mixture of both design and content. –  PhillipW Mar 25 at 12:46

3 Answers 3

A lot of these are very subjective and depend on your audience, and your offering.

Regarding social media, I am turned off by the "NASCAR effect" of having every badge for every site on every page. It's obvious that it's a shot in the dark, and they should know better, that nobody will DIGG their contact page. On the flip side, some restraint is noticeable and having a quick peek at a company's Facebook or Twitter feed can help you quickly judge them. Bonus points if you see them engaging in customer service!

(3 - List of companies using the service), is one I actually appreciate. When you're researching a product and hit a site for a product you've never heard of, it's useful to see this is a legit product being used by real and respectable companies (look at https://basecamp.com/).

These are all Trust Signals and have to be executed carefully. Scammers will try to pass them off as real, so care should be taken to ensure you appear creditable on and below the surface.

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This seems like a very narrow view. It definitely depends on what kind of website it is and what you're trying to get the user to do. First tell the user story-what are they there for? What are the top 1-3 tasks they are there to do? And then you'll be able to tell if any of these things would be useful.

For instance:

  1. Number of subscribers. If subscriptions are your main business, this # could give the reader confidence to sign up-if people are on the fence about something, herd mentality will often kick in.
  2. Anything claiming the best in the industry. If you have some data to back this up, you could use this, but all claims must be fact-based.
  3. List of Prominent Companies Using The Website's Services. Again, this is a confidence builder-you're not some fly-by-night company, you've got smart companies seeking your help.
  4. Social Network Icons. Depends on how strong your social media strategy is. What is the benefit to the user of "liking" your website? Think of it from the user perspective, if there is no benefit to clicking any of those social media icons, I would leave it out until you can give them incentive.
  5. Testimonials Above The Fold. If you have a testimonial that shows the user how they too could benefit. Use it. A/B test for placement if you can.
  6. Any Awards Won. Again, confidence builder. Use it if you've got it!
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Instead of worrying about what repels some people, which is very subjective anyway, focus on providing the content your users came to see. Are you selling widgets? Feature special widget deals. Make sure navigation and search options are visible.

Regarding your list of 'put-offs', is there any actual substance to your twitter feed, such as daily deals? Highlight those. Does liking you on Facebook get me a discount? Tell me why I should, and I might friend you. If you can not explain your value with social media, then why would you feature it?

Put out the content people want, and the extras just aren't as important.

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