Web usability : its impact on human factors and consumer search behaviour

No Thumbnail Available
Lydon, Bernie
Fennell, Tom
Issue Date
Dublin Business School
Items in Esource are protected by copyright. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/copyright holder.
Usability testing methods and phenomenology based qualitative techniques were applied in naturalistic settings in consumers’ homes to establish factors which are perceived as hindering and facilitating consumers in finding product/service information, and making e-commerce purchases. A facility to see an overview of site structure in order to make quick evaluations about content and navigation schemes emerged as prominent user concerns with regard to human interface design factors. The placement of a search engine on the homepage of a website, so that users can easily establish the starting point for specific search tasks, was found to be critical. The absence of such search functionality on homepages led to users navigating many irrelevant pages and in some instances failing to find sought product/service information. In such cases, consumers sometimes opted to abandon the site altogether and access alternative sites to complete the tasks (which can impinge directly and negatively on e-commerce sales). Search engines that returned inaccurate results within a site also led to dissatisfied customer experiences. Layout of price information was found to be essential to aid readability and interpretability. The results suggest that more positive user attitudes are associated with the vertical layout of such content as opposed to a horizontal style layout.