The Credibility of a product is absolutely critical, whether it is coming from a brand-new startup, or an established corporation. There is a great deal that goes into the Credibility of a product, from the people that hype it, to its visual presentation. However, there are a few basic elements that go directly to the foundational aspects of product Credibility upon which the rest of the product’s truthfulness is built.
Quick-UX provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX). In answering the question of Usefulness, "Should I use it?" the sub-category of Credibility is one in the frequent discussion of cautious engagement, especially in the ever increasing, in both frequency and size, waves of introductions of online products.
Establishing and maintaining Credibility is the removal, or minimization of concerns arising from these types of questions. Many elements (design, accuracy, usability, timeliness, advertising, etc.) contribute to the positive, or negative, perception of overall product Credibility, but for Quick-UX’s evaluation we assess only the most elemental. For a refresher of the Quick-UX Credibility Rubric visit: Quick-UX & Credibility: Do you believe?
One field, in particular, stands out when talking about Credibility. That field is the news. How better to have a discussion on Quick-UX and Credibility than to see it in action, applied to products that deliver the, hopefully trustworthy, news.
Today, we will take an interesting look at the second of a set of three Technology and Web Blogs with Average Credibility values, from 0.45 – 0.625.
Example 2: Mashable
Founded by Pete Cashmore, Mashable, the tech blog "focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Media news," provides an experience that achieves a Quick-UX Credibility value of 0.575.
Mashable demonstrates both common and unique approaches in addressing the key touchpoints of Credibility. The general product contact methodology is handled cleanly; even with quick access to some of the most commonly desired reasons for contacting Mashable.
The drop-down menu provides access to both the contact form (and associated email addresses) for the various product departments, along with the somewhat awkwardly located ‘About Us’ option (also found within the page footer — the location where I initially spotted it).
Further buttressing the positive Credibility, the Mashable product’s ‘About Us’ page does a very good job of presenting the product’s history and origins alongside the team’s biographies …
…complemented by pictures and other social profile information (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.).
Mashable clearly believes in robustly leveraging as many of the social media channels of communication as possible, thereby allowing their consumers to use whichever methods are most comfortable and familiar.
Within news products the user will typically see an image associated with the article or the article’s title before seeing the author’s image or name, in a left-to-right content prioritization.
Mashable, through their site design, places a greater emphasis on the authors, the real people creating the content. The emphasis is even more striking when compared with other online news and content-oriented products. This Credibility enhancing approach, uniquely differentiates this product and acts as a conduit to further author-consumer social interaction.
Uniquely, on the homepage, users can (for those who happen to stumble upon this functionality) access supplemental author communication channels through a simple mouse-over of the author’s image — similar to the functionality found on the ‘About Us’ page.
On the whole, a positive, while being somewhat mixed in the implementation, is the method of direct communication. While individual’s emails are not provided, anyone who signs up for a Mashable account (a slightly inconvenient hurdle) can directly message many of the key members of the Mashable team by way of their profile pages, linked from the ‘About Us’ page. This goes a long way in establishing honest dialogue, between those that create/maintain the product and those it serves, and, in turn, the product’s Credibility.
The Mashable product has a slight edge over TechCrunch on the foundational elements of Credibility. It is what they do upon that foundation that determines their long-term, overall credibility as judged by their, as well as their competitor’s, user bases. In the meantime, some steps Mashable can take to build upon their Credibility success, as evidenced through this Quick-UX assessment, have to do with establishing Mashable, the product, as coming from a real organization within the real world, for example, by…
- expanding the methods of contact to include telephone (e.g. for tips, suggestions, etc.), and
- showing where Mashable HQ is located, the real address at which this real product resides.
Quick & Useful
Quick-UX Credibility is a measure of the starting point, the foundation of a product’s Credibility. How products, and the people behind them, strengthen, or erode, their trustworthiness through their subsequent actions governs the Credibility imparted to the product’s consumers over time, through extended exposure to the product. However, this extended exposure is only achievable after these products have successfully enticed and converted their visitors into returning readers, by way of a comprehensive User Experience, in significant part due to an initial demonstration of sound and, in these examples, Average Credibility.
Over the next few weeks I will be exploring and ins-and-outs of Credibility, walking through real-world examples of the Quick-UX evaluation of Credibility …
Barely Low Credibility (part 1, 2, 3)
Solidly Low Credibility (part 1, 2)
Average Credibility & Tech News (part 1, 2, 3)
More Average Credibility (part 1, 2)
Update: Renewed Pogby
Quick-UX Credibility, In Conclusion
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