To Protect and Serve .. but not to inspire trust?

I came across an interesting website today, that of West Yorkshire Police, which is interesting in that it has an Online Compliments Form and an Online Complaints Form. A couple of things hit me about those forms, which inspired me to put pen to paper (well figuratively anyway).

The first thing that struck me was how much harder the Complaint Form is to fill than the Compliments Form. Not in terms of the amount of information you need to fill, but rather in terms of the extent of personal information needed. The Complaints form requires you to fill in your Date of Birth and Address, while the Compliments Form doesn’t need a Date of Birth and your personal details are an optional section. While seeming inocuous, this sort of different can easily skew and statistics generated by how many forms are submitted, a skew that is not immediately obvious when looking at the results.

The other thing was the Verisign Trusted logo at the bottom. Study the following image and tell me what you think:

If you’re noticed that the website is not actually secure you get full points. The problem with the image is that it implies trust, it plays on the viewer not having the technical wherewithall to check whether the page is indeed secure. If there’s one thing that’s worse than having an insecure system, it’s having a system that claims to be secure and isn’t!

Goes to show how careful you need to be on the Web out there!

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