A Review of Website Quality Analysis

There are a number of tools available at the moment which aid in assessing the quality  of  websites  these  include  Sitequal, Webqual,  The  Balanced  Scorecard  and  Servqual and the Technology Acceptance Model. Sitequal consists of 20 items within nine  unique  dimensions,  which  are  used  to  evaluate  the  quality  of  Internet  sites. Webqual  is a quality assessment  tool  that uses qualitative customer assessments and transforms  them  into metrics used  for management decision-making and also allows comparisons  to  be  made  between  competitors.  The  Balanced  Scorecard  is  a conceptual  framework  for  translating  an  organization's  vision  into  a  set  of
performance  indicators.  Servqual  provides  management  and  key  players  with feedback about  the organisation's ability  to provide quality  service on  their website. 

These  tools  are  constantly  are  constantly  evolving  to  coincide with  the  ever changing world of e-Commerce. In particular, as explained by Barnes and Vidgen in “ An  Interactive Approach  to  the  assessment  of E-Commerce Quality  ” Webqual  has been  in  constant  development  to  reach  today’s  standard  of  Webqual  4.0,  which focuses in on the following key attributes of websites including Usability, Information Quality and Service Interaction.   

Having  never  heard  of  these  models  previously  I  decided  to  apply  the Webqual  Model  to  a  number  of  my  frequently  used  Websites.  I  chose  Webqual because  it  appeared much  easier  to  find  information  on  and  predominated  Internet searches. I kept in mind during my research what Webqual was as defined by Slabey 1990 Webqual  is  “  a  structured  and  disciplined  process  that  provides  a  means  to identify  and  carry  the  voice  of  the  customer  through  each  stage  of  product  and/or service development or implementation “.  By  using  a Webqual Questionnaire   I  evaluated Cd-wow.ie and Sigma-sport.co.uk with the following results.   Cd-wow.ie  sells  chart  cds  and  dvds  at  a  much-reduced  price  than  stores nationwide,  typically  40-50%  cheaper.  They  operate  in  a  market  with  stiff competition, with the likes of Amazon.com etc. The Analysis proved the website to be a success.      In  terms  of  usability  it  rated  very  highly,  the  site  is  very  easy  to  navigate, every  product  is  easily  searchable  and  the  site  is  very  well  designed.  In  terms  of Information Quality  I  found  the  site  to  be  very  good  however  I  thought  that most products  lacked  sufficient  information,  and  there  was  no  customer  reviews  etc.
However as  the questionnaire  suggests  information was  relevant, believable,  timely, accurate  and  very  easy  to  understand.  The  site  is  interactive  with  regards  its transaction  capabilities,  it  deals  with  purchases  very  efficiently  and  quickly.  I  do believe that my personal and financial information is kept secure.  My overall impression of the website would be very positive. Having analysed Cd-wow.ie  I  conclude  that  it  is  very  successful  as  it meets my  own  and Webquals
demands on Usability, Information Quality and Interaction Quality.   Using the same technique with regards to evaluating Sigma-sport.co.uk was a very contrasting and  insightful experience.  I would consider Sigma-sport as being a market leader in Ireland and the Uk as being an online Cycling Shop.  Firstly Usability. The usability of the site is very good, it is well designed, and
products are well displayed with correctly sized images adjacent. However two issues I noticed were that some pages did not load at all and their product range was not all that it could be. The Information Quality of the site was good however the Interaction Quality was only fair. I did not feel that my financial and personal information were secure,  as  there  was  no  assurances  or  references  to  Verisign  or  other  secure transaction possibilities.   I  found  it  funny  that  even  tough  it  did  not  do  very well with  regard  to  its assessment by Webqual I was still a frequent customer of theirs. I tried to understand the reason for  this. I did research on the company and  the market and found out that they were the only significant online cycling presence, therefore they were the market leader simply because they were the only such company online.   This I found very interesting, that even though their website was of relatively basic quality  in comparison  to e-Commerce giants  like Dell and Amazon,  they were still market leaders in their sector. In other words I was shopping there because it was my only opportunity  to do so. It posed  the question for me what need Sigma-sport a website  on  par with Cdwow.ie  if  they  have  the market  dominance  and  no  relevant competitor.  

Having only a basic knowledge of statistical analysis and having not applied and  statistical  model  to  my  research  I  could  still  identify  with  the  benefits  of Webqual. From any companies point of view it is an excellent tool to benchmark their website against competitors and allows  them  to develop a  strategy  that  is needed  to surpass the customers expectations while still delivering on performance.