Research shows that poor Web site designs lead to user disorientation and cognitive process overhead that result in low user satisfaction and loss of potential sales. It is, therefore, important to understand the consumers’ perception toward an effective Web site; specifically, what they are experiencing and what goes through their minds during these visits to Web storefronts. This knowledge could then be used to design e- commerce Web sites that are responsive to consumers’ needs. This research uses protocol analysis to examine the perceptual experience of the user in the context of the online purchasing activity. It allows us to study the formation process of an actual purchase decision as it progresses in the mind of the customers. Eight users were recruited to look at two Web sites (one of which was rated high, the other low) on the dimensions of content, design, navigation, business, and informational influence. Results showed that quality in these five dimensions would meet consumers’ needs, positively affect their attitudes toward the Web storefront, and consequently lead to purchase intentions. Furthermore, consumers use different Web site features for different tasks; therefore, Web site designers must also use activities or scenarios in designing to ensure that the Web site features support the users in their tasks.
Tan, Gek-Woo and Lee, Ernest, "Using Protocol Analysis to Understand the Effects of Web Site Design on Consumer Purchase Behaviors" (2005). ICIS 2005 Proceedings. Paper 74.