Andres sent around some links last week and during a little downtime this morning I started diving further into some of them. One post on Usability.gov stopped me for a few minutes when I got to this section:
As compared to the least wealthy respondents (i.e., income < $20,000), the wealthiest third (income > $60,000 USD) assigned more credibility to sites that used tailoring (e.g., site requires user to register or log in, site recognizes user was there before).
To this, I would agree. Personally, I expect “good” sources of information to have developed some form of tailoring; and logically, the more comfortable I feel on the site, the more likely I am to register, comment, or subscribe.
Nearly 75% of respondents reported making credibility judgments based on the content presentation rather then by evaluating the content’s or creator’s authority, trustworthiness, reputation, or expertise. It has been well established in advertising that how a product is presented visually impacts sales (Vanden, Bergh & Katz, 1999).
The article Andres sent around went specifically into the impact of aesthetics on attitudes towards websites, but it’s a point that gets made in many of the other articles. Simply put, the better then website looks, the more likely a user will trust the contents.