Centering User Perspectives: An Ontology of Digital Trust

June 27th, 2024

Publication : Blog
Themes : Community RightsDigital InclusionGender

Centering User Perspectives: An Ontology of Digital Trust

Photo by Google DeepMind

The Ontology of Digital Trust is a living framework that captures the flows of trust between user and technology. Having emerged from our work on women’s digital decision-making, it adopts a user-first approach to understanding trust, and in its visualization, reveals the trust relationship as one that is dynamic. The flows are crucial to understanding its seemingly paradoxical nature – one of a non-linear journey that the user takes every time they interact with technology.

This trust relationship is the product of various determinants at any given point. Users demonstrate diversity in their digital expectations, aspirations, and capacity. As a result, there exist differences in their ability to give and negotiate trust with technology. Once enabled as an agentic actor, the user weighs different factors to arrive at a trust decision in that specific situation. The decision manifests as one or more trust actions or interactions with the digital entity. The technology must then respond to these, the impact of which determines subsequent courses of action for user and technology alike.

Please note: The ontology is a work-in-progress and is updated periodically.