It has been said that there is only one opportunity to make a first impression. In the competitive world of ecommerce, attracting customers to a Web site is expensive; keeping them is a business imperative. The utility of the Web site from the user perspective is critical to success, and evidence suggests that an unrewarding initial experience will thwart further interaction with the site. Throughout the literature since the 1960’s, a commonly cited factor pertaining to system success has been user involvement in the systems development process. Among other things this is likely to lead to increased user satisfaction and the perceived usefulness of the application.

The study examines e-commerce application developments at a number of organisations, and reports on the role of users in the development process. Despite the business need for remote, untrained users to quickly feel comfortable and satisfied in an e-commerce site encounter, it appears that organisations are making very little effort to engage users in any e-commerce site developmental activities.