… or How a Web usability consultancy ignored the recommendations of their own trust report … a cautionary tale!!!
Last week I was pointed to a report on Trust from the Nielson Norman Group – specialists in User Experience. It discussed topics relevant to the research I am doing on user trust for e-services so I paid my $45 for a single use copy of the report.
Their recommendations included:
- Word of Mouth – people will accept and trust a friend’s recommendations more than a brand name
- Fair Pricing, Fully Revealed
- Provide honest information about products
- Remove outdated content immediately
- Offer free returns
- Access to helpful people
- Access to real human beings can increase trust
My ears pricked up when I read that the web sites tested were accessed over a 56k modem. It slowly dawned on me that the report was a “mere” 8 years old. While a lot of user experience information is timeless, I felt cheated.
I checked – the web site did not list a publication date for the report. They had broken recommendations 2, 3 & 4. So I looked for a way to voice my issues. Damn – recommendation 7 went down as well. But wait, I could send email! I complained that their advertising was misleading and that they had broken numerous recommendations in their own report.
Sigh, you guessed it, recommendation 6 went down in flames – an unsympathetic CSR retorted that my expectations were unreasonable. It was clear that recommendation 5 was not going to be honored either and I was still going to be out my $45.
At least recommendation 1 survives. My word of mouth recommendation is that you should treat statements from this group with skepticism – caveat emptor when purchasing any reports.