How to build trust online

Launched in 2009, the file-sharing platform WeTransfer has around 60 million users a month, cementing itself as the go-to tool for creatives. Chief creative officer Damian Bradfield explains the company’s approach towards its users.

We’re a very transactional tool and deliberately so. Our mission was to keep people in their flow – to just go into WeTransfer then go back to what you were doing.

That’s a human approach to the internet – a great high-street store understands this. The door’s open, you go in, browse, pick up something and leave – no one’s going to hassle you. But that’s a very confident long-term approach to experience design and the internet has mostly been short-term; based around the fact that you’re an idiot, I’ve got to capture your attention fast because you’re never going to come back or find me again.

There’s been a belief that you can attract a user base simply by paying people to come to you and that they will stick around.

Everything we were taught pre-internet, the affinity that people can have with brands, was dismissed when it came to tech. I’d like to think that a lot of companies will think how they can differentiate by not using Google and Facebook – taking offline values and applying them online.

We pinpointed early on that we were going to use our media to do some good – gifting 30% of it to support emerging photographers, artists and illustrators resonated incredibly well with our audience.

We’re a file-sharing business which isn’t essentially a creative business. The creative aspect came from us not putting banner ads on the site. We made a conscious decision to have just one full-screen image – it’s pretty much the only site in the world where there’s only one thing happening. We could have had banner ads and skyscrapers, but the experience for the user would have been horrendous.

If you’re trying to reach a creative audience, I don’t know there’s any evidence that [email bombardment] works; I think we’re all a lot more susceptible to the idea of being left alone and allowed to browse. You might send 300,000 emails and get a 1.62% conversion rate. That’s pretty good, but how many people did you annoy along the way? You might have got some money out of them but can you do that over three to five years? That hasn’t been proven.’

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