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The population of web sites continues growing every year, but are the sites usable? Most sites seem to ignore the usability issue. Usability is about making the site easy for consumers to navigate and operate. Unusable sites do not attract and retain consumers. A usable site is one that is concerned with the user’ perception and provides the fundaments that allow the consumer to accomplish tasks such as searching and purchasing. According to ISO’s usability definition, examining its effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction, measures the usability of the web site. Five commonly used usability evaluation methods, competitive analysis, scenarios, inspection method, log analysis and on-line questionnaires, were reviewed. Using these earlier concepts as a basis, the usability evaluation model was developed. The model consists of four components - Information, Transaction Service, Trust, and Non-functional requirements.

The model was first tested on Travel sites. It was found that it could be used to classify the sites. It was then tested against a user perception survey of the industry sites. This indicated an agreement between the model and the user perceptions. The model was then tailored for e-commerce web sites and, based on the core similarities, a more abstract level could be postulated. This was then tested against its application to a third industry, Internet banking sites. Similarities and differences between the fundamental elements of the sites in the three industry sectors are related to the sector’s needs and those of the customers that they service.