Web Credibility

Types of Credibility

Presumed – Red Cross


Presumed credibility is when believability is assumed by the audience. (more…)



Wikipedia is an online encyclopaedia that manages its extremely large amount of information by allowing basically anyone to edit and write its many, many pages. This quasi-freedom creates a perception of Wikipedia as an unreliable source of information. While it is true that some self governed guidelines and policing are present on the site, a lot of false information can get through on to individual pages. Because of this it is generally considered a bad idea (and is commonly against the rules) to use cite Wikipedia for, say an academic assignment.

Too many people contributing such a crazy combination of true and false information over such a large variety of articles definitely makes Wikipedia one of the least credible popular information sites on the internet. Even my assignments for this blog specifically mention not citing Wikipedia, and with good reason.

In my opinion however Wikipedia can be a good jumping off point for gathering information on a topic. Because of the encyclopaedia’s use of citations and referencing itself, information found on pages can lead you to credible websites full of helpful facts. The broad strokes of Wikipedia articles can give one ideas on what to search for when thinking of a topic. It just goes to show how helpful some things can be while surfing the web.

Web Credibility

Credibility on the World Wide Web is an important issue for both audiences and designers. Knowing if the site you are researching an important topic on is a believable source is a vital part of web surfing. Likewise it is important for web designers to know what gets a reader to depend on the information within their site so they can buy into the page and/or come back again. Because of these things, it is critical that research like the studies done by BJ Fogg takes a look at credibility around the web.

The amount of things that could go wrong while looking for information on the web is colossal. The relative ease of posting online allows many non-credible sources to place false information for everyone to see. Looking for medical information, local news and travel advice are just three of the plethora of examples of items on the web that people want to be true. As a student, I use the web to look up sources for things such as essays and analysing writings. In order to earn a solid mark, my information, and therefore my sources must be credible. It is therefore important that people know to look for “trust markers” while searching for such things.

Because reader trust is important in website design, creators will often make sure their information at least seems credible. Research into web credibility allows them to know how to hook in readers. This creates a better web experience all around.



Fogg, B. J. (2003). Credibility and the World Wide Web. In Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do (pp. 147-181). Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.

Moss, T. (2013, Janurary 1). Web credibility: The basics. Retrieved from Web credible: http://www.webcredible.co.uk/user-friendly-resources/web-credibility/basics.shtml

Laja, P. (2012, September 13). 39 Factors: Website credibility checklist. Retrieved from Conversion XL: http://kylegawley.com/journal/the-aesthetic-usability-effect/