To Trust or Distrust: Has a Digital Environment Empowered Users to Proceed on Their Own Terms?

  • Natasha DwyerEmail author
  • Stephen Marsh
Part of the Autonomic Systems book series (ASYS)


We claim that the wider trust research area (academics and industry practitioners) strive to develop systems that are both trustworthy and foster trust. Evaluation methods follow this pursuit and measure for the presence of trust. However, if considered from a user’s perspective and if a digital environment is instead designed to empower users about their trust choices, then trust and distrust are valid options. How can environments, designed to empower users in their trust responses (referred to in this chapter as TEU environments), be evaluated? Practitioners need to be able to gauge their progress. In this chapter, we outline how a practitioner can work around some of the complexities surrounding the design of TEU environments and we present one evaluation method. To understand whether a TEU environment is indeed empowering a user regarding trust, we suggest investigating whether there is a change in a user’s level of uncertainty. A reduction in uncertainty is a proxy for both trust and distrust. When uncertainty is reduced a user is clearer about what to do and is not caught up in a cycle of exploring possibilities. Survey questions allowing responses on a Likert scale are one means to evaluate change.


Usability Usable security Information trustworthiness Evaluating Trust evidence 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Arts, Victoria UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Business and Information TechnologyUniversity of Ontario Institute of TechnologyOshawaCanada

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