“It’s hard to know now who, if anyone, in the media has any credibility.” – Howard Fineman


Why is it important to evaluate the credibility of a website?


“Credibility can be defined as believability.” (Fogg, 2003) How believable a piece is, comes down to the trustworthiness of the source and the expertise. For instance you are more likely to believe a Doctor who tells you that you have a certain disease, then say a friend. This is because a Doctor has studied medicine and health, therefore he has the “expertise” to diagnose you. Doctor’s also usually take an oath to do no harm, making them “trustworthy”. Credibility requires a combination of trustworthiness and expertise. For instance Fogg describes that a mechanic has the “expertise” to tell you what is wrong with your car, but if he has a reputation for suggesting unnecessary repairs that makes him “untrustworthy” and his credibility is diminished.

So much is thrown on to the world-web making it sometimes impossible to derive fact from fiction. As students we need to make sure the information we are relaying in our assignments is credible, by evaluating the credibility of our sources. Some ways of determining if a website is credible is by looking at its creator, the date it was published, the sources, the domain, the site design and the writing style. (“How can I tell if a website is credible?” 2017) At the end of the day as a student, the information you use is to back up your work and if you’re sources aren’t credible its really all for nothing. (“Evaluating the Credibility of Your Sources,” 2017)


 Why Wikipedia shouldn’t be used as a “credible” source

I’m not going to pretend I’m above Wikipedia I use it all the time, to search up movie plots (yes I’m one of those people that like to spoil endings for myself), to settle debates and even as a starting point for research. However despite all that I never use anything I learn from Wikipedia for assignments and here are the reasons why:

  1. Wikipedia says in their own site “we do not expect you to trust us.” And trustworthiness is needed for credibility. Furthermore it says that false content may be present.
  2. Credible contributors can be shut down. It is the editors of Wikipedia who decide what is “reliable” enough to be put on the site. Often they use “Wikipedia is not a reliable source” as a safety net to post whatever they want, including sensitive information because it is deemed that it won’t be believed.
  3. The amount of active Wikipedia editors has plateau. So there aren’t as many people constantly checking the content being put up.
  4. Wikipedia editors lack diversity. A 2009 survey revealed that 87% of the editors were male and in their mid-20s.
  5. People create defamatory content that goes uncorrected for months on end.
  6. You have no idea who wrote it. How do you know if they even have expertise in the matter let alone trustworthiness?
  7. You should never rely on just one source for the bulk of your information.

(“The Top 10 Reasons Students Cannot Cite or Rely on Wikipedia,” 2011)




Anticipated issues that may affect the users’ perceived credibility in the future


  • Pop-ads: Websites filled with adds are a visual distraction, which makes me skeptical when I read information online
  • Security: With the recent ransom-hacking happening world-wide and infiltrating organizations such as Britain’s Healthcare System, online security is becoming an increasing issue. These days it is so easy for someone with basic coding skills to hack your information so caution and constant security updates is key.
  • Web designs: often it is so easy to look over design as being worthy of your time when developing a website. However, as explained in an earlier post about “Aesthetic-usability effect” sites that are more pleasing to the eye are deemed more credible and easy to use.
  • In the world of instant messaging, so many companies having Facebook pages, questions and reviews posted online by customers need to be answered promptly to keep a company’s credibility.
  • These days sites are becoming easier to use and create, meaning even kids can now easily create content. I myself had a cooking blog when I was 13, and I hadn’t even done one class in cooking yet. So user credibility is going to become an increasing issue.



Websites that use the 4 different types of credibility



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 PETA falls under the presumed-credibility category, as it is a non-for-profit site that is part of a worldwide corporation that helps the treatment of animals. Not only do they have the user function to donate money to the cause of saving animals but they also have lots of information regarding how animals are treated/used for food, clothing, experiments etc. They are an organization that not only educates but helps with regards to animal cruelty. The short cut way of identifying a “presumed-credibility” website is one that has “.org” in the url. (“4 Types of Web Credibility,” 2013)




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 Reputed credibility comes from the “endorsement or recommendation of a third party.” (“4 Types of Web Credibility,” 2013) Goodlife is a fast growing chain of gyms around Australia. Now while this company doesn’t have any awards displayed on their site, the gym was recommended to me by a few colleagues of mine, making it reputable.


Surface & Earned


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Surface credibility is all about the design, if the design looks appealing to us then we deem it as credible or at least worth investing more time in. (“4 Types of Web Credibility,” 2013) The Mecca website is clean, professional looking, updates regularly and lacks ads floating around. The colour scheme and graphics are thought-out to appeal to a wide audience.

As the name suggests earned credibility is the rarest form, and is only achieved once a person has used the site for a considerable time. (“4 Types of Web Credibility,” 2013) Mecca, for me, has earned credibility because I have used the website countless times, and find it easy to navigate and use. The site’s credibility is heightened by the fact that it sends me email notifications confirming payments; it has my details automatically saved, the site allows for customers to review products, etc.




Types of Web Credibility, (2013). Retrieved from

Fogg, B. J. (2003). Credibility and the World Wide Web. In Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do (pp. 122‐125). Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers

How can I tell if a website is credible?, (2017). Retrieved from

Evaluating the Credibility of Your Sources, (2017). Retrieved from

The Top 10 Reasons Students Cannot Cite or Rely on Wikipedia, (2011). Retrieved from


Performance Load

“In business, the idea of measuring what you are doing, picking the measurements that count like customer satisfaction and performance… you thrive on that.”– Bill Gates


“Performance load is the degree of mental and physical activity required to achieve a goal.” (Lidwell, 2003) It is the principle that explains that if a performance load is low, requiring little effort, the time to complete the goal lowers and the success rate rises. Where as when a performance load is high, requiring a lot of effort, the amount of time rises and the success rate lowers. Products therefore should aim for a lower performance load so customers are happier and less frustrated. Performance loads are broken into two categories: cognitive load and kinematic load.

Cognitive load:

Cognitive load is the amount of mental exhaustion a task requires. The cognitive load has to do with a person’s cognitive architecture ie their primary knowledge (what we are born knowing eg breathing) and secondary knowledge (what we learn from our cultural experiences eg talking). It is through our cognitive architecture that we mentally problem solve through a task. (Sweller, Ayres & Kalyuga, 2011) The gap between starting a task and completing a task is referred to as a “problem space” and if it is too large you risk the customer’s mind being overloaded. (“Cognitive Load Theory,” 2017) A way to minimize cognitive load is by reducing outside interference’s (ie noise), chunking information etc. (Lidwell, 2003)

Kinematic load:

Kinematic load is the physical exertion required of a task. (Lidwell, 2003) Back in the day of phones with rotary dials, you would have to rotate the dial round to each number of a phone number before ringing. The increased physical exertion meant there was an increased risk at accidently dialing the wrong number. These days with smart phones you simply press a contact name or just scream at siri to dial a certain contact, cutting down the physical exertion immensely. To reduce the kinematic load you need to reduce the amount of steps it takes to complete a task ie minimizing distance required to travel. (Lidwell, 2003)


 Chunking Information


“Chunking” information is a way of reducing a customer’s cognitive load. “Chunking” refers to the grouping of information (“chunks” of information) to make the use of the short-term memory more effective. (“Chunking Strategy”, n.d.) The overall concept of “chunking” splits large pieces of information into chunks, identifies similarities within the information, categorizes the information and groups it into smaller/manageable units. ( Laird, 2012)

The working memory of a person can only handle so much information and so by “chunking” the information you are summarizing a large piece of information that will be used later. In result it shortens the “problem space” to complete a task. “Chunking” information has been proven to improve the visual clarity of a task as well as improve the retention of information within a complex instructional framework. (Educational Technology Publications, 1998)

With regards to reading, when have we ever looked at a large piece of non-fiction writing and said, “Yes! I can’t wait to get into that!” Well I don’t know about you but I certainly haven’t. By “chunking” information you’re giving your audience smaller portions to get through making the task less tedious and the overall design of the content more appealing. If a task looks like it’s going to take a long time to do it, it won’t be done. People are naturally drawn to information that looks concise, clear and to the point; in a world where we are constantly bombarded by information we don’t go looking for the long answer, purely the short one. “Chunking” information is an effective tool in reducing information but still keeping the quantity of it.


Learning Psychology, is it worth it for Design?


Developed by the Berlin School of Experimental Psychology, “Gestalt” are the collection of theories that explain “how people tend to organize visual elements into groups…” (“The Psychology of Design Explained,” 2013) The theories take into account how the brain organizes itself and when used in logos, makes them more memorable. It includes theories such as:

Implied shape: a shape that does not exist but is implied through the psychological connection of lines, dots etc (“Art Fundamentals,” 2017)

Negative space: the space around an object that makes it more appealing. (“A solid Understanding of Negative Space,” 2012)

But is it worth studying psychology to improve your design? Personally I think yes. Director of Branding of Aesop, Ed Woodcock says,

“To be a good designer in today’s society, you need to have an understanding of psychology, human behavior, and the little shortcuts, the little quirks, in the way people operate.” (“The Psychology of Design Explained,” 2013)

Do I think you should take a whole course, no, particularly if you don’t plan on becoming a psychologist, however like Ed said an understanding in it is crucial to improve your designs.


3 Examples that reduce Performance Load


Food Delivery sites

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Food delivery sites such as Menulog, Eatnow and Dominoes reduces the kinematic load significantly for a person who has access to a computer or mobile device. While I would say the same cognitive load is required, as you’re still reading a menu and entering your details, the kinematic load drops significantly. Online food delivery services allows for a person to receive a meal they’d probably have to drive to and also frees them of having to talk to a human being. Websites like Dominoes has a feature that allows you to order a previous order, reducing the cognitive load as you don’t have to remember what to order etc.


Delivery Florists

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It used to be you had to race to a florist, pick out an arrangement and then drive it to your loved-one for them to get some flowers. Now with so many florists doing same-day deliveries that reduces both the kinematic and cognitive load. Now you no longer have to travel to get your flowers delivered, reducing the kinematic load. But also some flower delivery websites simply ask you to select a price range and the florist will pick the arrangement themselves, reducing cognitive load. Not only do these sites reduce product load but it allows for people away to still be able to treat their loved ones.


Online Studying

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Many universities these days give students the ability to study online. While this doesn’t reduce the cognitive load, as you’re still learning a lot in a short amount of time it does reduce the kinematic load as you no longer have to travel to learn the content. Online university has made people like parents, adults with full-time work or even people with health conditions the ability to study and further their education.



Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Performance Load. In Universal Principles of Design (pp. 148‐149). Massachusetts: Rockport.

Sweller, J., Ayres, P., & Kalyuga, S. (2011). Cognitive load theory (Explorations in the learning sciences, instructional systems and performance technologies). New York: Springer.

Cognitive Load Theory, (2017). Retrieved from

The Psychology of Design Explained, (2013). Retrieved from

Art Fundamentals, (2017). Retrieved from

A solid Understanding of Negative Space, (2012). Retrieved from

Chunking Strategy, (n.d.). Retrieved from

Laird, J. (2012). The soar cognitive architecture. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Educational Technology Publications, (1989). Interactive Video.


“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne Johnson

Consistency is the principle in which, “systems are more usable and easier to learn when similar parts are expressed in similar ways.” (Lidwell, 2003) Consistency allows consumers to transfer previously-obtained knowledge from one product to another that does the same job. Within consistency there are 4 types that effect usability:

  • Aesthetic consistency: when a company uses the same appearance and style to build recognition.
  • Functional consistency: when the action and or meaning are consistent, so say buttons on different devices can be easily identifiable.
  • Internal consistency: when elements within similar systems are the same ie Airplane safety procedures are generally the same across airlines, creating trust within a system.
  • External consistency: extends internal consistency to other parts of the environment

(Lidwell, 2003)

Products that are “new and improved” often succeed if the design is kept relatively consistent with regards to previous designs. “Consistency is responsible for widespread use of ideas and products.” (Horn, 2012) This is because it makes the new product easier for consumers to navigate, rather than having to acquire a new set of skills. Not only that but it makes the job of the developer easier as well if they already have a template to work from. (“Why Consistency is Critical,” 2005)

For instance the implementation of “hierarchical grids” within a website keeps the pages of a website consistent. It keeps the header of a website and the navigation aspects of the website the same despite whatever page you are on within a website. (Evans, Sherin & Lee, 2013) Consistency ensures that over time a product or company will become reliable as they become familiar to a consumer. We like what we can recognize with little to no research. (Bassi, 2011)

While the importance of consistency is irrefutable, that doesn’t mean you can get lazy with the overall creativity. Customers won’t go to your website/product if it is an exact replica of someone else’s, you’ll most likely have a witch hunt after you for plagiarism. Therefore while consistency is important so that customers don’t become frustrated with your website/product, there needs to be a balance between consistency and creativity.

3 Examples of Products that use Consistency

Cars Interiors

It would be fairly unsafe for test-drivers to take out a car that they were unfamiliar with, so majority of car’s interiors remain the same. While Externally they aren’t necessarily aesthetically consistent, internally they are. Most cars (within Australia), all have their driving side on the left, with the middle of the car having the gears and cup holders, and some kind of radio/stereo system at the front. Functionality-wise the dashboards on most cars remain consistent, so customers can easily identify speed, millage, fuel etc. So for someone who has driven a car before the knowledge should be easily transferable to a new car. Like I said without the consistency of the dashboard and gears within a car, driving a new car would be like learning to drive all over again- disastrous, and if you’re like me, ending with you driving through the kitchen. Thankfully because the interior of a car is quite externally consistent it makes them a usable design.



Since the implementation of ATMs in self-service gas stations, public transport ticketing systems and supermarkets ATMs have been the most popular way to get cash quickly. (“A Brief History of the ATM,” 2015) Whether you use a Bankwest ATM or a Commonwealth ATM and whether you’re using them in Australia or Nigeria, ATM’s have stayed fairly consistent world-wide. Aesthetics-wise there is always a display screen showing you your options, a key pad below and below that, the cash dispenser. Functionality wise they all do the same thing, which is give you the ability to take cash out from your bank account, check your bank balance, transfer money over etc. It helps that all ATMs are externally consistent so people can use them wherever they are in the world without the struggle of a language barrier; plus its just far more convenient then going in to your local bank.

Street Signs


Again, around the world street signs stay relatively consistent. Aesthetically speaking their design and colour scheme is left quite basic and bold so they are easily identifiable to drivers and pedestrians. “Aesthteic consistency enhances recognition… and sets emotional responses.” (Lidwell, 2003) For example the red (stop) of a traffic light is consistent with the red of a Stop sign, and the yellow (caution/hazard) of a traffic light is consistent with hazard signs (ig Caution: Kangaroos). The aesthetic consistency helps with the functional consistency as drivers and pedestrians can use their previous knowledge from other signs to translate new road signs. For instance regardless of the image if a sign is yellow it’s assumed that there is a potential hazard ahead so be vigilant. Street signs are pretty consistent worldwide and hence have that external consistency so tourists can safely drive our roads.


Car Interior Design, (2017). Retrieved from

A Brief History of the ATM, (2015). Retrieved from

Top 15 Uses of Automated Teller Machine (ATM), (2015). Retrieved from

Road signs for cycling in the Netherlands, (2012). Retrieved from

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic-Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of Design (pp. 46). Massachusets: Rockport.

Horn, R. E. The Principle of Consistency and the Conditions for Creativity  Retrieved May 18, 2012, from

Why Consistency is Critical, (2005). Retrieved from

Evans, P., & Sherin, A. (2013). The graphic design reference & specification book. Beverly, MA: Rockport.

Bassi, L. (2011). Good company : Business success in the worthiness era (1st ed. ed., A bK business book). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Aesthetic-Usability Effect

“If a work of art is rich and vital and complete, those who have artistic instincts will see its beauty, and those to whom ethics appeal more strongly than aesthetics will see its moral lesson.” – Oscar Wilde


“Aesthetic-Usability Effect” is an article written by W. Lidwell, K. Holden and J. Butler and its purpose is to briefly describe “a phenomenon in which people perceive more-aesthetic designs as easier to use than less-aesthetic designs- whether they are or not.” The article goes on to talk about how aesthetically pleasing designs with poor design functionality is far more popular then “ugly” designs with great design functionality- as “prettier” designs are deemed easier to use.


During a usability test, a customer ran in to a lot of issues while trying to navigate the FitBit site. After many false-starts the customer was able to make her order, but still rated the website’s usability as high. “It’s the colours they used. Looks like the ocean, it’s calm. Very good photographs.” (“The Aesthetic-Usability Effect,” 2017) The calming aesthetic of the site helped to hide the flaws in its functionality.


“Colour impacts meaning and evokes emotions.” (Sherin, 2011) As experienced in the above case study, while the website was ineffective the colour of the site impacted the consumer, encouraging her to purchase regardless of the usability. This is because colour, along with other design elements has been scientifically proven to impact both consciously and subconsciously. With regards to web-design, using aesthetics keeps users engaged on your site for longer and hence increases your chances of them purchasing your products. By using graphics and design elements that appeal to the audience of your site, you distract them from price tags, tedious forms etc. (“The Aesthetic Usability Effect- It’s Design Magic!” 2016)


The Aesthetic-Usability Effect isn’t just used for websites however; it also plays into products and people. In 2010 a study was conducted with two of the same phones, 1 aesthetically pleasing and 1 not. Participants were set a list of tasks they had to complete and the data showed that the participants with the aesthetically pleasing phone took longer. Despite this, they still preferred the “prettier” phone as “the increased task completion time provided support for the ‘prolongation of joyful experiences’”. (Sauer & Sonderegger, 2010)


Examples of Products that use the Aesthetic-Usability Effect

High End vs Makeup Dupes


As a makeup artist I spend a lot of my time with cosmetics ranging from over $100 to under $10. Last year one of the most talked about palettes within the beauty world was the Anastasia Beverly Hills (ABH) “Modern Renaissance” palette ($42). The palette consists of 14 shades with 3 different finishes (matte, metallic and satin). (“Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette,” 2017) With any popular high-end palette, many drugstores release “dupes” for people, to save money for a similar look. A palette that I found to be similar for a lesser price is Coastal Scents “26 Colour Blush Palette” for $16.10. (“Anastasia Beverly Hills modern Renaissance Dupes,” 2016) Now while the Coastal Scents palette is cheaper and has more eye shadows I am still inclined to purchase the ABH palette for a few reasons; it contains a mirror, it comes with a brush and I’ll be honest it’ll look prettier in Instagram posts when I post looks I’ve created to boost my business. So while the Coastal Scents palette is functionally better, the ABH palette’s aesthetics is what wins me over.


Personal Planners


Personal planners have been a growing trend recently with the trend of bullet-journaling sweeping Pinterest. When looking online there are 1000s of different personal planners ranging in price, why, they all do the same thing? Take for instance this “Day-Timer Avalon Simulated Leather Starter Set, 5 ½ x 8 ½, black” from Target ($32.49) and the “Leather Personal Zip Planner Large: Lovely” form kikki k. ($89.99) Both include a case, pockets, pen holders, the ability to refill them and the ability to customise depending on your needs. Ignoring that one is made from real leather and the other faux leather and despite the price, the kikki k. planner to me is far more desirable, as it uses rose-gold finishes (which is a far more luxurious metal than the silver on the Target planner) (“Why Everybody and your Mom is Obsessed with Rose Gold,” 2016) Also despite functionality kikki k.’s paper designs are far more delicate and intricate then the stock-standard design of Target’s. Finally, kikki k also has the advantage over Target as they use photos and videos of their planners to demonstrate how their planners can be customisable for you. The aesthetics of the kikki k. planner makes me want to use it more than the Target planner.


High heels

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Probably one of the biggest examples of aesthetics over functionality can be seen in the wearing of high heels. The people who wear them (including myself) know it is not the most comfortable or supportive option for our feet, but damn do they look good. As explained in the beginning article “Aesthetic-Usability Design,” we are more likely to by high heels then say a pair of flats because overall they look more pleasing to the eye, so why bother with comfort? Unfortunately shoes fall into the fashion industry, an industry dominated by aesthetics so of course high heels are far more sought after then a supportive pair of sneakers.





Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette, (2017). Retrieved from

Anastasia Beverly Hills modern Renaissance Dupes, (2016). Retrieved from

Why Everybody and your Mom is Obsessed with Rose Gold, (2016). Retrieved from

Leather Personal Zip Planner Large: Lovely, (2017). Retrieved from

Day-Timer Avalon Simulated Leather Starter Set, 5 ½ x 8 ½, black, (2017). Retrieved from

Sherin, A. (2011). Design elements, color fundamentals : A graphic style manual for understanding how color impacts design. Beverly, Mass.: Rockport.

Sauer, J. (2011). The influence of product aesthetics and user state in usability testing. Behaviour & Information Technology, 30(6), 787-787.

The Aesthetic-Useability Effect, (2017). Retrieved from

The Aesthetic Usability Effect- It’s Design Magic!, (2016). Retrieved from

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic-Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of Design (pp. 18-19). Massachusets: Rockport.