How Do You Know You Can Trust Online Sources?

From the design perspective, how do you know if a site has authority?  What are the traits that we are looking for in determining if a site is ‘fit’ or if it’s a web service that you should avoid?  I’m thinking about this from the perspective, that as we move to entirely on-line services and develop ‘on-line’ products such as mashups — where are the typical disclaimers that follow any product into the market place.  How do we know what we are getting? 

For example, today I took an educated risk in the on-line world.  My regular mechanic is out of the country and my secondary fuel filter had to be replaced.  Since I’ve seen it done before, I thought I would give it go.  The next problem I faced is that I knew there was an extra step that I needed to do after the filter was installed and before I turned on the engine.  So I went on-line and searched for “diesel secondary fuel filter change.”  It then took a visit to three different sites before I got the information I needed.  The key piece of information was that I needed to accelerate a couple of times to fill the filter prior to starting the engine.  As for the sites I visited in my search, one had a clear warning that any of the instructions I followed would be done at my own risk and that of my car.  This is why I had to look at two additional sites to feel confident in what I needed to do.  If I had never seen a fuel filter changed, if I hadn’t known that I needed to confirm a step in the process — the first site that I visited and its warning would have made me stop.  I had no way of knowing if the content was accurate.

As a side note, James aka my car is fine and running well.  I did good!


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