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

The Future of Web Credibility Research and Design

Because academia and industry lack a deep understanding of Web credibility, many research and design explorations are waiting to be performed, with rich insights waiting to emerge. Like the study of persuasive technologies, the study of Web credibility is mostly uncharted territory, offering opportunities for those interested in creating new knowledge.

Web credibility can be difficult to study, not only because there are so many facets to a Web site but because of a host of factors external to the Web. One external factor is users how they process information, how they value individual components of credibility, and their differing goals when using the Web, as well as contexts in which they do so. All of these factors can vary significantly from one person to the next, and all influence credibility perceptions.

The study of Web credibility also faces the moving target problem. [39 ]For Web credibility researchers, there are three significant moving targets: the Web user base, user experience levels, and Web technology itself. As these variables change and evolve, research done in the past may no longer apply or may not be as useful.

In addition to the challenge of individual differences, researchers must be aware that an individual user may have different goals at different times when using the Web, and these goals impact credibility perceptions. At one time, the user may seek specific information on the Web, such as mutual fund performance figures. At other times, they may...

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