It’s much easier to make a credible looking website than it is to make a credible looking book. So when you’re on the web, how do you evaluate the credibility of the information you’ve found? On average, it seems, not very well!
Research carried out a couple of years ago found that people use only superficial cues when making judgements about a site. In other words, if it looks professional, then it is. People are generally ‘cognitive misers’, tending not to check the credentials of the author or their motivation in making the information available. The new buzz phrase for this type of skill is ‘information literacy’.
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One immediate practical implication is that every organisation needs a professional looking website or visitors won’t take it seriously.
→ From the New York Times (Free registration required)