Web design, content dictate perceived credibility

Data from 574 participants were used to assess perceptions of message, site, and sponsor credibility across four genres of websites; to explore the extent and effects of verifying web-based information; and to measure the relative influence of sponsor familiarity and site attributes on perceived credibility.The results show that perceptions of credibility differed, such that news organization websites were rated highest and personal websites lowest, in terms of message, sponsor, and overall site credibility, with e-commerce and special interest sites rated between these, for the most part.The results also indicated that credibility assessments appear to be primarily due to website attributes (e.g. design features, depth of content, site complexity) rather than to familiarity with website sponsors. Finally, there was a negative relationship between self-reported and observed information verification behavior and a positive relationship between self-reported verification and internet/web experience.

Synopsis from Andrew J. Flanagin & Miriam J. Metzger’s The role of site features, user attributes, and information verification behaviors on the perceived credibility of web-based information/em> from the Journal of New Media & Society.

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