Web Assessment - A Model for the Evaluation and Assessment of successful Electronic Commerce Applications
The original reason for the research was triggered by a disappointment felt by the authors when using the Web as research tool and business medium. Many sites feature fancy graphics, well organized content, but rarely a site induces the visitor to come back on a regular basis (with exceptions of course). The electronic commerce revolution some predicted experiences a setback due to a lack of consumer interest and some potential customers turn their screens rather off than meddling their way through a purchase order. But why are customers so indifferent?
In fact most of the early World Wide Web entrance strategies have been rather driven by the inclination of an early adopters’ strategy ”it is participation that counts”, than a sound business model for electronic commerce. Thus many companies and institutions discovered with surprise, that the comparatively modest budgets allocated to the development of their Web sites did not always guarantee success.
This paper addresses a largely unexplored issue: the analysis of supposedly interactive electronic commerce applications. The paper reports initial results of a study carried out in cooperation with industrial partners of our research center that aims at identifying the success factors of electronic commerce applications.
After briefly outlining the development of Web sites in the past couple of years to pinpoint the reasons that lead to the current impasse felt by many, the paper continues to define the theoretical framework of the Web Assessment Model. The model builds on the three transaction phases – information, agreement, and settlement – and parts of a product performance system. To embrace the notion of community, which is a central issue in virtual environments, a further transaction phase is added, and media inherent criteria are derived. The paper, in closing, applies the model to the Web site of Swissair, the national airline of Switzerland.