The Trustworthy Web Site

You visit a new web site, whether it’s to find information, do some shopping or make a transaction. How do you know to trust it? According to a recent article by Human Factors International, web surfers evaluate sites primarily on two criteria:

  • Professional-looking appearance
  • Ease of use.

What that means is that the design and the photos look to be the product of a professional effort – it’s not some MySpace site. And that the site has been designed to make it easy to use – again, it’s not some MySpace site. Web credibility is also a function of relevant content. Basically, this means a web site designed toward user needs.

What’s interesting is that this web site evaluation process is done in seconds. Visitors get to your page, glance it, and then decide whether it’s a trustworthy web site.

Get Real: Have an Enemy

I’ve been enjoying Getting Real, the book by 37signals (creator of the very cool Basecamp).  The book, which is available online, is ostensibly about best practices in software development.  However, I think its lessons can be applied to other situations, like… life.  For example, they suggest having an enemy.  When building Basecamp, 37signals decided that their app would be the anti-Microsoft Project.  MS Project was the enemy.  MS Project would be the opposite of the beast that is Project.

Who’s your enemy?  How does having an enemy motivate you?  When starting a project, do you think to yourself, “I’ll show them!”

Flickr Camera Finder: Canon Rules

EOS Digital Rebel XT Usage This Year
Flickr camera use diagram
courtesy: Flickr
Flickr’s Camera Finder is fascinating on several levels. For one thing, it’s shocking the level of dominance Canon has among Flickr members. The Canon Digital Rebel XT (the camera I have) is by far the most popular camera among Flickrites, with the Nikon D70 a very, very distant second. Among point and shoots, the top 5 are all Canons, with the Canon Powershot SD400 the most popular model. But what’s also interesting is that you can click on the names of the camera models and see pictures from Flickr users. Useful to see what kind of pictures a camera can take, if you’re in the market to buy one.

Blogs in Government

The blogging revolution has reached government agencies. I think this about makes it mainstream. Pretty soon, even your grandmother will have a blog. Government webmasters (full disclosure: I’m one of them) have put together a really helpful page on the benefits and challenges of government blogging and what to consider before you pick up the keyboard. Bonus: some example government blogs and the Weather Service’s blogging policy. Policy? This is the government after all 😉

Web Workers: Some Bathrobes, Some Not

macbook proIn this charming post by Anne Zelenka, she gives thanks for being able to work in her bathrobe. Web workers don’t need to worry about dressing up or even leaving the home. But what about us web workers who have to bother with showering, putting on pants and trudging into the cube farms? It’s ironic that most in the web field have do their work in a fixed physical location, putting in “face time” with coworkers and trying (futilely) to appear interested during lengthy meetings. It’s so, well, 20th century, that most who build and maintain web sites have to report to an office every day. I’ll give thanks when the work practices of today catch up to the reality of web work. Until then, you’ll find me in my cube.