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Visceral and Cognitive Levels of Credibility Judgment in an Authorless Environment: A Factor Analysis of the Influence of Visual Design.

Jason Holmes and David Robins

(Submission #68)


In thinking about the impact of social computing and Web 2.0 trends affecting information seekers (and the professionals who help them), the age-old problem of determining credibility in an authorless environment again comes to the fore. First impressions are key for web page content. Regardless of the quality or credibility of content, a poorly designed or aesthetically unappealing web page will likely produce a negative impression of credibility. This study compared credibility judgments for websites in which the visual design had been varied. A factor analysis showed patterns of higher credibility scores for higher visual design treatments. The importance of the findings presented here are that visual design has impact beyond decoration. It is a common (if latent) assumption that all serious web sites wish to be perceived as credible, believable, and trustworthy, especially in an authorless environment.


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