Usability Evaluation of Selected Oman-based eCommerce Websites
Keywords:HCI, e-commerce, consumer behavior, usability
Since the advent of internet technology, e-commerce websites has become a common place for consumers to conduct business transactions. Having a user-friendly online system can make a huge difference in the successful completion of business transactions. Companies have employed different strategies in their web design so as not to solicit negative impressions among potential consumers. Thus, it is necessary to understand consumersâ€™ visual preferences and expectations. A web design that includes content, functional, and navigational elements must be well planned and carefully executed to provide a distinct user experience. Usability testing helps refine the user experience and validate web design assumptions. The best websites that dominate the market are those having excellent web design and offer great customer experience. Thus, on the part of the companies, it translates to more revenues.
This primary purpose of this study is to examine the usability of three (3) Oman-based e-commerce websites which sell similar products.Â It made use of quantitative and qualitative data in its analysis which are gathered from conducting three (3) surveys: pre-task survey, post-task survey and post-test survey. This study measured the task time and success rates in the post-task survey and compared the mean and usability score of these websites. This study sought to determine some weak areas in the usability and design and recommended areas for improvements. Furthermore, the outcome of this study is hoped to provide web designers and developers gain a good understanding of consumersâ€™ behavior towards the use of shopping websites and employ better or alternative web designs that can improve user tasks and workflows. Most importantly, since the company websites that are evaluated are based in Oman, it will help Omani entrepreneurs meet some organizational targets.
This study revealed that one website needs serious improvement in its product overview and general usability factors, and critical improvement in its product search factor. This website was least favored in terms of its overall usability compared to the other websites which are identified in this study. The difficulty encountered by the participants has something to do with the search and navigational tools which are absent for this website. The other two (2) websites only need minor improvements in the aforesaid factors in addition to the other factors like terms of product description, accessibility of general conditions, handling of shopping cart, and self-descriptiveness factors. In general, all participants were able to complete the tasks in less time and difficulty. Lastly, this study produced recommendations for the improvement of the web design of the aforementioned websites.
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