So, website credibility has come up lately in a few of my classes. I’m finding this topic interesting because I have created or worked with several websites of varying size/exposure/readership/credibility over the past 5 years or so…and I don’t think web cred was discussed in any detail in any of my 8 or so prior web development classes. So just a few notes about it here.
Credibility = trustworthiness + expertise.
There are lots of ways to display that your site is credible and that you have expertise/are trustworthy; the following 10 Guidelines for web cred are lifted from my IA teacher Dan Klyn, and inspired by BJ Fogg’s presentation on website credibility:
- Look professional: Design your site so it looks professional or is appropriate to your purpose. layout, typography, images, consistency, etc.
- Make it easy to verify accuracy of info on your site. (this is dated in a way, but is customer opinion a way of using recommendations to verify?)
- Show proof you’re a real company: Need to know ‘who’ the company is. Seeing more personal info can give more confidence. Show there’s a real organization behind the site.
- Highlight expertise in your organization and in your content and services.
- Show you’re human and honest: Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site. (photos of employees, details about their lives, humanize people beyond expertise)
- Let people contact you: Make it easy to contact you.
- Make things easy and intuitive: Make site easy to use and useful.
- Update site content often or show that it’s been reviewed recently.
- Use restraint with promotional content…ads…giant banner ads can undermine credibility, esp on sites like lancet, which is medical…
- Avoid errors of all types, no matter how small they may seem. Misspellings, broken links, etc. all hurt a site’s credibility. Also lack of user input clean-up (Dear Mr. klyn…)