Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Computing, Engineering & Construction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Computer and Information Sciences (MS)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. School of Computing

First Advisor

Dr. Karthikeyan Umapathy

Second Advisor

Dr. Ching-Hua Chuan

Third Advisor

Dr. Sandeep Reddivari

Department Chair

Dr. Sherif Elfayoumy

College Dean

Dr. Mark A. Tumeo


Trustworthiness of a website relies foremost on a good first impression which includes the visitor’s perception of the user interface. The focus of this research is to investigate the effects of website design elements on user perception of trustworthiness of a site and provide a set of guidelines for website designers.

The research design is based on Yosef Jabardeen’s (2009) “conceptual framework analysis”. In this research paper, a holistic model is developed to depict the relationships among website design elements and trustworthiness. The model was tested, validated and updated using the results of the repertory grid technique, a process that elicits perceptions about a topic from an individual. For this research, the topic was website trust, the objects were the website design elements, and the constructs were elicited perceptions regarding those website design elements. The repertory grid technique was applied in two stages to a set of participants made up of website users and website designers. Analysis yielded useful information regarding website design associations and correlations of perceptions. The research findings confirmed original suggestions regarding associations and produced an updated, validated model of website design elements. The research indicated that while all design elements had their importance regarding trust, those elements that provided for the function and security of the website rated the highest in importance and expectation.

The validated model will aid website designers in understanding what elements are appealing to the visual senses and conjure credibility and trust. Most importantly, this new understanding may help designers to create websites that attract and retain new users and establishing a successful presence on the Internet.