21 Nov 2008

Poor spelling = poor credibility

As an editor, I am known to whine openly and loudly about poor grammar, misspellings and the general lack of commitment to "proper English," and then just as quickly to excuse myself by saying: "I'm probably one of the 10 people on the whole planet who care."

Well, it seems I am wrong. According to a study discussed at the User Experience seminar in Amsterdam, such mistakes are among the top reasons readers give for not trusting a website.

Admittedly, the study, by B.J. Fogg, found that sites that are rarely updated, do not include a real-world company address and have a mass of annoying pop-up ads have even less credibility.

Interestingly for me, a self-proclaimed cynic, including the credentials of the author of an article or piece of content, and testimonials that can be clearly traced to real people, has been found to boost a site's credibility.

And tying neatly back to my earlier posting, objective writing – rather than "marketese" or "spin" – that is backed up by supporting evidence is essential for earning readers’ trust.

/Michelle Walkden

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