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I was recently discussing with my sister, who is building a travel website, and is planning to add a iframe to the partner travel insurance company, so users can register for insurances inside her website.

However, the sevice's page is actually the whole partner's homepage, just with a URL parameter that indicates its coming from her website.

I argued that the user's trust could be breached if that page was simply inserted into a page on her website, because it would seem very gimmicky, since it's a full homepage, with lots of other unnecessary information for the customer, instead of something directly related to the user's intent. The user might also not notice he's dealing with a third party until it's too late, and then feel slighthy scammed.

With that, my suggestion was that the page should actually consist of instructions on requesting a insurance, and a link/button that led to the partner website, since this would be explained to the user.

Even after making examples of other related implementations (such as any online shop that uses Paypal and similar services), she still wasn't convinced that it would be the best alternative for the user.

Then I questioned myself: Is it better (from a trust standpoint) to embed a third-party's page into your own, and instruct usage, or instruct usage, then direct the user to the third-party's page?

Disclaimer: I am no UX professional, and neither is my sister. I just want to know if there's a common sense on this kind of matter, and what would be the most appropriate choice. Kudos if the answers provides some sort of source with more information.

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  • I am unfamilliar with this SE's tags, so please edit with anything that might better classify this question – Kroltan Aug 13 '15 at 1:26
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Using an iframe will result in a disjointed and potentially confusing experience that will inhibit conversion such that users are likely to abandon the process before trust really becomes an issue.

Even if you style your site to just look just like the other site in an effort to make the alien content look more natural, it will just add to the confusion. The chances of a user using the embedded site navigation and getting lost are high.

This article from 2012 - "The Iframe is Evil" - (which was echoed in this answer on stackoverflow) lists a number of purely technical reasons that iframes are a bad idea. It also offers some suggestions for alternatives.

So iframes are a poor choice a range of reasons. Your idea to prepare the user with instructions and send them to the partner site via an external link makes the most sense, in all respects, in the long term.

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Who likes iFrames:

  • people with "C" as the first part of their title acronym.
  • marketing folks

Who doesn't like iFrames:

  • everyone else in the universe

An iFrame in most scenarios is essentially a technically lackluster way to "hide" the fact that you're using a 3rd party solution. This doesn't build trust with the customer. The more trustworthy approach is to simply say "we partnered with X, please continue to their site..."

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