The Internet Trust Index has reported a modest level of trust amongst U.S. online adults of 61.5 on a scale of 100 - with zero representing no trust and 100 representing absolute trust in the Internet. This is interesting as getting a pulse on how users perceive the Internet could be valuable for a number of reasons. It provides some insight into what activities users are likely to engage in online, whom is most active online, and where demographically. From a design perspective, this can help guide decision-making with regards to driving feature sets, look and feel, and even communication design. This can also help with regards to technology considerations such as decisions to implement trust marks on a Website such as a trust seal, green bar, or other markers.
The recently released Internet Trust Index (pdf) provides a gauge of consumer confidence on the Web. The results are compiled from a survey of U.S. adults designed to understand their Internet-related behaviors and attitudes. The survey measures nine different criteria to explore consumer's online activities, experiences, behaviors and concerns. It characterizes major Internet user groups to arrive at why some groups trust the Internet more than others and what are influencing factors. The results are sometimes surprising.
Here are some key findings:
- Though equally active online, men and women tend to engage in different
activities. Men check sports scores more often, while women engage in
social networking more. Women are more concerned about being online than
men when conducting financial activities and releasing personal
- Users in the Pacific region are more likely to engage in a wide range of
online activities. Across all regions, up to half or more of overall users would never engage in such activities as online dating, social networking, adult content, virtual networks, managing stocks online and logging into work remotely. However, the Pacific region (compared to Mountain and West North Central regions) is less inhibited to engage in these activities, most likely due to the West Coast's more tech-savvy contingency.
- Trust in the Internet is highest in West North Central, New England and
Mountain regions, and lowest in East South Central and East North
The report is published bi-annually. The survey is conducted for VeriSign by TNS who also conducts the monthly Consumer Confidence Index survey for The Conference Board.