Product Design Lessons

Interface Design Sketching  |   Lesson #124

Influencing Users with the Bandwagon Effect

How to use design triggers part 3 of 10

Part four of our ten part series on psychological triggers and patterns to influence our users is here. In this lesson, we’ll be covering how you can use outside authorities to add weight to information, making it seem more trustworthy and gain a higher purchase rate.

What is Authority?

The Authority trigger is based on the idea that your users assume information is true because the source is perceived as an expert. This is also known as an "appeal to authority." In everyday life, people rely on authority figures to inform their decisions with advice and opinions. Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab (Hey that’s an authority) even suggests that a site is viewed as more trustworthy if seemingly "honest and trustworthy" people endorse or contribute to it.

When people are told to do something by an authority figure, they tend to obey the direction and rarely question it. Much like the classic experiment at by psychologist Stanley Milgram, Authority can often trump our own instincts.

How you can use it.

There are two main ways companies can utilize Authority within their product. They can utilize their own Authority if they have it, or they can capitalize on the Authority of others. Establish your company as an authority, making awards and achievements clearly visible on your site. Communicate the choices users should logically make based on the facts, opinions and weight of authority. Smaller or newer companies can also Connect to authority figures that symbolize their products or services to increase the validity of their service.

Companies use Authority everytime they show testimonials from industry experts or walls of logos from their customers. Campaign Monitor above is just one of many companies who showcase the Authority of their products through the customers who choose to work with them.

Next Steps

Look at your own product and discover whether it could benefit from more Authority. Back up your product's value by including reliable data, reviews or evaluations from professionals in your industry.

More and more, email is a part of product design. Whether used for account creation, onboarding or updates, knowing how to create amazing emails is an essential skill for the modern product designer. We’ve accumulated our experience in sending millions of emails into Foundation for Emails so you can build freely and worry less about cross browser issues. If you want to hone your skills as an email expert, be sure to check out our ZURB Master Course: Responsive Emails.

About the instructor


Brandon Arnold is a Foundation mastermind. He contributed several key components of the latest version of our framework, and walks you through getting started with Foundation for Emails.