Journal of Electronic Commerce Research
Special Issue: Human Factors in Web-based Interaction
Volume 3, Number 3, 2002 ISSN 15266133


Issue Editor(s)

Issue Editor: Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Papers in the Special Issue

HCI Research Issues in Electronic Commerce

Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Sid Davis, University of Nebraska - Omaha

This article outlines a number of important research issues in human-computer interaction in the e-commerce environment. It highlights some of the challenges faced by users in browsing Web sites and conducting searches for information, and suggests several areas of research for promoting ease of navigation and search. Also, it discusses the importance of trust in the online environment, describing some of the antecedents and consequents of trust, and provides guidelines for integrating trust into Web site design. The issues discussed in this article are presented under three broad categories of human-computer interaction - Web usability, interface design, and trust - and are intended to highlight what we believe are worthwhile areas for future research in e-commerce.

An Integrative Approach to the Assessment of E-Commerce Quality

Stuart J. Barnes, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Richard T. Vidgen, University of Bath, UK

WebQual is a method for assessing the quality of Web sites. The method has been developed iteratively through application in various domains, including Internet bookstores and Internet auction sites. In this paper we report on the application of a new version of WebQual to Internet bookstores: Amazon, BOL, and the Internet Bookshop. WebQual draws on previous work in three areas: Web site usability, information quality, and service interaction quality to provide a rounded framework for assessing e-commerce offerings. Although WebQual is grounded in the subjective impressions of Web site users, the data collected lends itself to quantitative analysis and the production of e-commerce metrics such as the WebQual Index. The reliability of the instrument is examined and core constructs of Web site quality identified using factor analysis. The role of WebQual in assessing an organization's e-commerce capability is discussed.

From Design Features to Financial Performance: A Comprehensive Model of Design Principles for Online Stock Trading Sites

YoungSu Lee, Yonsei University, Korea
Jinwoo Kim, Yonsei University, Korea

As e-business grows rapidly, interests in design principles for e-business web sites are increasing. A few studies have suggested design principles with concrete design features, but failed to link the features to the performance of an e-business site, such as attitudes of its customers or financial performance of the e-business company. This paper proposes a comprehensive framework that covers from concrete design features to financial performance for online stock trading, which is one of the most important domains of e-business. The proposed model for online stock trading sites consists of three design principles: functional convenience, representational delight, and structural firmness. Through empirical studies, this research found that the convenience, delight and firmness principles were closely related to the level of customer satisfaction, and, consequently, to the level of customer loyalty to the sites. We also identified important design features such as presentation of stock quotes in the homepage for each of the three design principles. Finally, the study results showed that customer loyalty would affect the financial performance of online stock trading companies. This paper concludes with the implications and limitations of the results.

Why Users Choose Particular Web Sites Over Others: Introducing a "Means-End" Approach to Human-Computer Interaction

Deepak Prem Subramony, Indiana University - Bloomington

Gutman's means-end theory, widely used in market research, identifies three levels of abstraction - attributes, consequences, and values - associated with the use of products, representing the process by which physical attributes of products gain personal meaning for users. The primary methodological manifestation of means-end theory is the laddering interview, which it has been claimed generates better insights than other qualitative or quantitative methods. This study asked: Can means-end theory, and its concomitant laddering methodology, be successfully applied in the context of human-computer interaction research, specifically to help understand the relationships between Web sites and their users? The study employed laddering interviews to elicit data concerning Web site attributes, their consequences, and user end-values. This data was duly processed and the results were subsequently appraised. Examination determined that means-end chains do indeed characterize the process by which the physical attributes of Web sites gain personal meaning for their users, thus proving the theory's applicability.

The Self-Confrontation Interview: Towards an Enhanced Understanding of Human Factors in Web-based Interaction for Improved Website Usability

Sun Lim, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

An in-depth understanding of human factors in web-based interaction requires a methodology which enables researchers to chart online actions, understand the cognitive processes guiding these actions and the mental dispositions governing them. In this regard, the self-confrontation interview is an extremely effective method. In this article, the self-confrontation interview method, its history, design and execution are explained. This method was utilized in a study on online shopping behavior. Selected findings from this study are presented and design principles which will enhance the usability of online store interfaces are proposed. These design principles are: (i) follow a sequential progression, (ii) mimic real-life scripts, (iii) provide visual indicators, (iv) place functionality above aesthetics and (v) avoid conditioning automatic actions. The article concludes with an assessment of the strengths and limitations of the self-confrontation interview method and its efficacy vis a vis other methods of studying web-based interaction.

User Preference for Product Information in Remote Purchase Environments

Nancy J. Lightner, University of South Carolina
Caroline Eastman, University of South Carolina

While the appeal of shopping online is enormous, successful methods of attracting and keeping customers remain elusive. Product offerings, service, and price are important considerations in online shopping, and a useful and satisfying Web site is also a consideration for on-line success. This research investigates product presentation in remote purchase environments and whether to accommodate user preferences for information processing in that presentation. After simulating an on-line shopping experience, users were asked about their satisfaction with it. Results indicate that regardless of the individual information processing style, the sentential style Web site was preferred over the diagrammatic style of product presentation. However, a combination site including both pictures and text was preferred over the others. These results address a conflict between goals of fast download time and thorough product presentation. Pictures may represent confirmation of the verbal description and provides a holistic view of the product, which slightly increases satisfaction.

Usability for Mobile Commerce Across Multiple Form Factors

Susy S. Chan, DePaul University
Xiaowen Fang, DePaul University
Jack Brzezinski, DePaul University
Yanzan Zhou, DePaul University
Shuang Xu, DePaul University
Jean Lam, DePaul University

Current research on usability for mobile commerce has focused on single platforms and very limited aspects of commerce activities. We conducted an exploratory study to examine usability problems and to identify potential research questions concerning wireless solutions for consumer e-commerce. By using cognitive walkthrough and heuristic evaluation methods, we evaluated the usability of ten wireless sites in three platforms: WAP-enabled mobile phones, Palm OS based wireless PDAs, and Pocket PCs running Windows CE operating systems. This article discusses our usability findings pertaining to user tasks, content presentation, search, navigation systems, and the design constraints imposed by form factors. It also provides design guidelines based on our study and examines research implications for wireless interface design.

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