I am designing an account area where users are required to provide some personal information.I have came across research that suggests that the use of icons such as a "Padlock" or similar has a positive impact on users trust, particularly during checkout. from where the question arises.

Would the same approach be useful when you are capturing other type of information such as Date of birth, Gender etc. also how do images differ in this regard?

what i would like to do is to convey to the users that whatever information they do provide will be in safe hands. So is there any research in this area or have you been confronted with the same issue before?

below is an example: enter image description here

2 Answers 2


The problem with a lock is that is also used to depict a secure connection (HTTPS).
Many browsers use the lock for HTTPS.

A symbol is effective if is used consistently. Have a link to your security policies and practices. Don't make a general statement your data is secure/safe as if you do get hacked then you have lied.

Maybe a key symbol to identify secure data?

An image in and of itself does impact a user's trust to give up personal information. There is not an image that will get me to give up a credit card. An image is used for identification and navigation. It is up to you to associate trust with the image.

There is no standard image for confidential. Consider a bicycle symbol - on a map site like google versus yahoo I know that it means bicycle route. My trust in the accuracy of those routes is going to be based on experience using routes and not if I liked one symbol over another.

  • Blam, I think we are talking about two different things. I am referring to the perception of images or icons which could entice users and reassure them to provide information. The padlock icon or image is just an example of a number of metaphors used to convey security and I agree it could denote a number of meanings and could be misleading. Having a link to the security policy definitely the way to go.
    – Okavango
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 20:09
  • But I think did answer the question. An image will only impact the users if you use it consistently and clearly communicate what that image means (in a convincing manner).
    – paparazzo
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 20:42
  • Agreed Blam. It's the convincing bit that escapes me...to put things in context I am designing a call out that houses a visual reward structure and reminds users that they need to provide us with a valid email to complete their profile. However can't use the same pattern in this particular case so I am looking for alternatives...convincing alternatives that tells the user that your info is in safe hands!
    – Okavango
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 21:49
  • What part of the icon is not going to convince them is not clear? I don't think the PayPal icon is very appealing. But I trust based on reading their policy and that a large company stands behinds it. To give out my email is another level of convincing. "Valid email is required to complete application" is enough for me as I have an email just for sites that I don't even consider personal information.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 22:27

Agree with first answer.

The key is to show that the data will be kept private vs public. I have seen it done by Having separate sections for public and private data. Eg email address. Birthdate etc in private sections

  • Public vs private data is a valid approach. The product I am working on is very similar to what you would see in the banking industry.
    – Okavango
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 21:52

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