Thursday, January 06, 2005

More Credibility Stuff

Last post I discussed a survey done by Stanford's, Web Credibility Project. Also listed on their site is another interesting study about web site credibility they did in conjunction with Consumer Webwatch.

This study was run a little bit differently than the last one I discussed. Instead of asking certain questions, it allowed respondents to make their own comments. Each person was shown two live web sites which they ranked according to credibility. They were then asked to comment on the credibility of the sites they saw. 2,440 comments were recorded in all.

Here's what's important:

Appearance was the most commonly mentioned aspect of a site. 46.1% of all the comments had something to do with "Design Look" (these comments were about the "visual design, including layout, typography, white space, images, color schemes, and so on"). That is to say, the way a site looks can make or break its credibility.

It is common knowledge that people browse the web quickly, moving from one site to another until we find what we want. As we go, we pass judgment, almost instantly, on the sites that we visit. We may say things just like the respondents said: "Not very professional looking. Don't like the cheesy graphics." Or, "This site is more credible. I find it to be much more professional looking."

The study also highlights the fact that having a professional looking site is even more important for financial (54.6%), search engine (52.6%), and travel sites (50.5%). E-Commerce sites came in at 46.2%, barely over the average for all sites.

This study is rather huge, so I will be discussing more of it later.

You can read the entire study online at Consumer Webwatch's Research Page. There is an HTML and PDF version.


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