Website credibility is an essential criterion when we are looking for online resources that can provide us with credible and trustworthy information. A significant advantage of credible websites is that they persuade us and manifest a long-term relationship with users while altogether boosting their reputation considerably by using acclaimed, dependable sources and highly accredited operators.
The basis of website credibility lies in its ability to convey information efficiently and make sure that the user’s ‘first impression made within a few seconds’ (Lowry, Wilson & Haig, 2014, p. 63) is instantaneously favourable. The site’s content must comply with the user’s expectations of finding credible information fast and positively.
Being a student at university, I believe the importance of website credibility is crucial for academic success. For example, the requirement of references in our assignments instructs us to use credible sources that incorporate aspects of trustworthiness and expertise equally. In addition, when browsing the net for online sites for relevant information, we must refer to ‘reliability, accuracy, authority and quality’ (Salvendy & Smith, 2009, p. 26) to ensure that we recognise the difference between the respected and the bad in website design and content. Consequently, the student is likely to experience dissatisfaction if it is found that they have relied on deceptive and unreliable sources, such as Wikipedia, to complete an assessment.
To conclude, as Fogg clearly underlines, a balance must be found between the two key components of trustworthiness and expertise to render websites credible and believable (2003, p. 123). This hugely impacts our perception and approval of particular websites in the future.
Fogg, B. J. (2003). Persuasive technology: Using computers to change what we think and do. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
Lowry, P.B., Wilson, D.W., & Haig, W.L. (2014). A picture is worth a thousand words: Source credibility theory applied to logo and website design for heightened credibility and consumer trust. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 30(1), 63-93.
Salvendy, G., & Smith, M.J. (2009). Human interface and the management of information: Symposium on human interface.Düsseldorf, Germany: Springer-Verlag.