Monday, November 19, 2007

Trust in the Little Things

Trust and UX ...

"Despite nearly a decade of research into the fragile nature of trust relationships in online user experiences, we continue to see organizations implementing devices such as abbreviated link URLs that jeopardize trust relationships for little or no benefit.

What is a trust relationship? One widely accepted definition of trust comes from the classic book Foundations of Social Theory, by James S. Coleman. Coleman offers a four-part definition of trust:

* “Placement of trust allows actions that otherwise are not possible—that is, trust allows actions to be conducted based on incomplete information on the case in hand.
* “[If] the person in whom trust is placed (trustee) is trustworthy, then the trustor will be better off than if he or she had not trusted. Conversely, if the trustee is not trustworthy, then the trustor will be worse off than if he or she had not trusted.
* “Trust is an action that involves the voluntary placement of resources—physical, financial, intellectual, or temporal—at the disposal of the trustee with no real commitment from the trustee.
* “A time lag exists between the extension of trust and the result of the trusting behavior.”

The second point in Coleman’s definition has the corollary that the trustor’s past experiences with the trustee will influence the trustor’s future trust decisions with the trustee. This essentially constitutes a Bayesian decision tree in which each past experience influences the trustor’s expectation of the likelihood of success or failure resulting from trust. When the trustor does this mental equation as he assesses whether he should place his trust in the trustee, negative experiences more severely affect his decision. Put another way, once a trustee breaks trust, it is difficult to regain it."    (Continued via UXmatters)    [Usability Resources]

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