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Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do

Two Sides of Web Credibility

Web credibility has two sides, one that relates mostly to Web surfers and one that relates to Web designers (Figure 7.1). On the one side, credibility is important to those who use the Web. People need to evaluate if Web sources are credible or not. This issue of information quality has been embraced by librarians and teachers. [8 ]


Figure 7.1: Web credibility from two points of view.
To better assess the credibility of an online source, librarians and others advocate that Web surfers examine who the author is, how timely the content is, and how the content compares with similar content from trusted sources, such as experts in the field. Fortunately, many good guidelines already exist to help students and researchers evaluate the information they find online. [9 ]

The other aspect of Web credibility relates primarily to Web site designers. The main issue for designers is how to create Web sites that convey appropriate10 levels of credibility, as discussed in Chapter 6.

Although designing for Web credibility is an important issue for designers, in 1998 there was almost no information or research related to the subject. [11 ]To help fill the gap, my colleagues and I began conducting research projects to gain a better understanding of the factors that go into Web credibility. Our hope was that our research, described in this chapter, would be a key resource for people interested in Web credibility issues. [12 ]The chapter lays a...

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