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.