Cultural issues in the design of usable web based electronic commerce

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- Doing Business electronically through web sites is an important component of the current business environment. Design of web interfaces for users in various cultural backgrounds has become a major concern in Electronic Commerce. The quality of web user interfaces for Electronic Commerce affects commercial outcomes to businesses. This thesis focuses on cultural issues in the design of business-to-customer (B2C) web based Electronic Commerce. By examining the points of view of both designers and users from different cultural backgrounds, this research established the prominent cultural factors affecting users' experiences toe-commerce interfaces. The research promotes an understanding of design issues in Web Based Electronic Commerce so that designers produce better performance in web design. The researcher has reviewed cross-disciplinary research in culture studies, Human Computer Interaction and Information Systems, and investigated prominent cultural factors relevant to web based Electronic Commerce interface designs. Designers' approaches in different cultural contexts are also examined. A conceptual model titled 'E-commerce Guide for Globalisation (EGG)' is proposed for studying e-commerce activity and external influences acting upon it. The EGG model was used to study cultural influences on web based e-commerce and adaptations of this model are used to formulate different studies presented in this thesis. Using the EGG model, this thesis identifies important cultural factors relevant to the usability of web based Electronic Commerce and investigates why and how different cultural factors are relevant to specific cases. The research considers the implications of these investigations for the design of usable web based Electronic Commerce. The research was based on qualitative methods and use of interpretive approach for analysis. These methods have been used to structure the study, to systematically derive, user experiences in popular Electronic Commerce sites, identify popular design features in different country sites, cultural influences in the selection of popular design features in different cultures and derives design approaches in different cultures. The research was conducted through four studies that consisted of three exploratory studies for examining user experiences and design features in global sites, followed by a fourth phase of intensive case studies for examining designers' approaches to address design concerns balancing with business outcomes. The key findings of the studies were design features that appeal to the users in different cultures, and that users have different intentions for using e-commerce sites. Also a clear distinction was found between design features and pages aimed at or originating from certain cultures. The studies culminated with identification of cultural aspects in design through investigative comparisons of Australian and Korean (South) business and designers' approaches to address business goals and cultural concerns of prospective users. This enabled formulation of web design guidelines for usable web based Electronic Commerce through awareness of cultural issues using a generic framework.
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