An examination of the effect of involvement level of Web site users on the perceived credibility of Web sites
Individuals are increasingly relying on Internet content to influence life-impacting decisions. This reliance generates the need for these individuals to evaluate the credibility of this content and demands that Web designers effectively communicate the credibility of Web content to the users. In order to understand credibility evaluation, the purpose of this study was to understand how user involvement affects perceived credibility. The study determined the relationship between two variables: enduring involvement and situational involvement and the study measured the effect of these two independent variables on the perceived credibility of Web sites.
Two levels of enduring involvement, high and low, were examined. Two levels of situational involvement were also evaluated: decision-task and no decision-task. The two variables produced a 2 X 2 (Enduring Involvement X Situational Involvement) design. The main effects and interaction effects were analyzed, and the effects of enduring involvement and situational involvement on the perceived credibility of Web sites were measured. A supplemental analysis assessed whether the four groups produced by the factorial design (high enduring involvement - decision-task, high enduring involvement - no decision-task, low enduring involvement - decision-task, and low enduring involvement - no decision-task) varied with regard to the Web site element categories (source, message, receiver, context, and medium) noticed during credibility evaluation.
The research found that the interaction effect between enduring involvement and situational involvement significantly influenced perceived credibility. Perceived credibility decreased as situational involvement was introduced to Web site users with low enduring involvement in the topic of the Web site. On the other hand, perceived credibility increased as situational involvement was introduced to Web site users with high enduring involvement in the topic of the Web site, Also, as situational involvement was introduced, the user's focus shifted to a more central focus (regardless of enduring involvement level) and different Web site elements were noticed. Based on the findings, credibility markers were defined for different involvement levels. These findings served as a foundation for the development of a Web Credibility Design model that can aid Web site designers in more effectively communicating credibility to users.
Web content delivery;