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Abstract

Designing websites that are responsive to customer needs is a critical prerequisite for the success of online services. To date, much research has focused on understanding which design requirements can be successfully applied to a website’s design. However, there has been limited research examining why some requirements may have more or less importance to customers. In addition to demographic characteristics, we propose that psychographic characteristics influence usability-related requirements. To develop our research model and hypotheses, we draw from usability literature and research in consumer behavior concerned with customers’ prevailing beliefs about technology. Conceptualizing customer beliefs should not only help distinguish between positive and negative processes but also help further investigate their consequences. To explore the relationship between customer characteristics (i.e., gender and technology beliefs) and usability requirements, we use a usability procedure based on the Microsoft Usability Guidelines (MUG). MUG identifies multiple design requirements that are expected to increase the usability of sites. We present the results of our study involving 215 participants. Overall, our results suggest that negative beliefs may play a larger role in influencing usability requirements than positive beliefs. And, the results suggest that prior Web experience moderates the relationship between beliefs and requirements.

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