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If you have a web site describing some type of a commercial service, where customer trust is a deal-breaker (e.g. construction work company), which perception model is more common among visitors:

a) see what they offer first >> decide if I would trust them or not/ decide if they match my personality so that their work would fit my taste

OR

b) decide if I would trust them or not/ decide if they match my personality so that their work would fit my taste >> check whether they offer what I am interested in?

The answer to this question would imply what should be on a website's first page - content focused on credibility and lifestyle fit or content focused on what services are being offered, at what price, in which locations, etc.

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Customers are interested in the problem that your products solve for them. Thus, you can't depend solely on your homepage to be the "first page" that introduces your solutions to your customers – they're probably using Google, or finding other ways into specific product pages on your site.

Build trust on every single page to affirm to the customer that they'll make the right decision.

What belongs on your homepage? It depends on why your users are there. It could be a large number of things, from wanting customer support to looking for employment to looking for coupons. Use your site analytics, user surveys and interviews to find out.

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A is most common

Typical information architecture of a commercial service site homepage:

  • Something catchy – e.g. main value prop, tagline, and/or large visual
  • Products and services highlights
  • Social proof – e.g. testimonials, recognizable client logos, etc.
  • Lead acquisition form
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  • I am not asking what is most commonly produced as home pages, but what is the most common site visitors' cognitive model of perception. The two are entirely different things.
    – drabsv
    Nov 4 '20 at 21:35
  • McKnight is correct and the structure he listed is basically the content you want in your design when implementing route A. Tell me who you are, what have you done before and why should I work with you. Nov 11 '20 at 17:33
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If having the customer's trust is a deal breaker, then what should be on the homepage depends very strongly on the type of commercial service(s) which is provided.

For example, if it's construction services, perhaps the home page would contain awards of clean incident records, completed projects, credentials of key engineers/ engineering leads that should be displayed to build a sense of trust and reliability.

Transparency on pricing, schedules, and etc. would also build trust with the clients. But these elements should not be placed on the homepage, they can be kept somewhere accessible for interested buyers.

And I am just guessing here. You should talk to a few of your clients and ask them why they gotten the service from you. What you have done that allows them to find you trustworthy. From their replies you would know what should be placed on the homepage of your website. Good luck!


Edit 1:

I misunderstood what you were asking. And following your comment you left on the previous answer, the question is much clearer now.

Both options of showing credibility and being transparent are core elements to building trust with people.

However, I feel that which option should take precedence is heavily dependent on your target user profile/ persona. For instance, in some Asian cultures, people generally trust products and services recommended by families and friends. In this case, content focused on credibility and lifestyle fit would take precedence to build trust.

On the other hand, in cultures where transparency in transactions are highly valued, e.g. some European cultures, content focused on what services are being offered, at what price, in which locations, etc would be more effective in building trust.

In short, I suggest to return to your target user profile/ persona and probably conduct a design workshop to understand their internal processes of placing trust on businesses, especially if cultural norms on placing trust isn't clear in your community.

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    I am not asking what to put in a page when trust is the deal-breaker. I am asking about the unconscious, immediate reactions of web site visitors in "trust-sensitive" web sites. Do most visitors seek to understand whether what they are looking for is being offered, first or do most of them seek clues that this company could be trusted, first?
    – drabsv
    Nov 13 '20 at 22:37
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    The answer is mostly culture dependent please refer to the edit I made to my answer for details.
    – Eric Chia
    Nov 20 '20 at 1:12

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