Digital Media Attention and Cognition Lab

Research Reports

April 2023 | Designing for Trust view entire report as PDF

In order to help guide future research in understanding how to best optimize news media website design for increased transparency and to gauge the impact of the positioning and display of transparency boxes on feelings of credibility, an in-person eye-tracking experiment was conducted (n=90). The goal for this study was to understand how the location and design of transparency boxes impacted audience attention and feelings of credibility. Results showed that both a no-box design and high-contrast box design drew readers’ attention to information boxes, and that attention to box content situationally affected perceptions of reporting ethics, but did not significantly influence credibility.

April 2021 | Missing the Mark view entire report as PDF

In order to help guide future studies into optimizing the positioning and display of the Trust Project's Trust Mark logo, and to gauge the impact of noticing the label on participants’ perception of credibility, an online experiment was conducted using a regional metro daily website (n=843). Each study participant read one of four different news articles containing the Trust Mark logo in a label, and were asked to read the article as they would if they had found it on their own. After reading the article, participants answered a series of questions about their perceptions of the article and the publishing news site, and then some questions asking about their recall and perceptions of the label itself. Results showed that both positioning and design treatment of the Trust Mark logo affected participants’ recall of seeing it. Participants who noticed the Trust Mark logo had higher perceptions of the credibility of the article and greater news engagement intentions regarding the article. Analyses showed this effect was mainly driven by an increase in site credibility perceptions among those participants who had low levels of general trust in news.