Document Type

Theses, Ph.D

Rights

This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) to the Dublin Institute of Technology 2007.

Abstract

This thesis explores the domain of website quality. It presents a new study of website quality - an abstraction and synthesis, a measurement methodology, and analysis - and proposes metrics which can be used to quantify it. The strategy employed involved revisiting software quality, modelling its broader perspectives and identifying quality factors which are specific to the World Wide Web (WWW). This resulted in a detailed set of elements which constitute website quality, a method for quantifying a quality measure, and demonstrating an approach to benchmarking eCommerce websites. The thesis has two dimensions. The first is a contribution to the theory of software quality - specifically website quality. The second dimension focuses on two perspectives of website quality - quality-of-product and quality-of-use - and uses them to present a new theory and methodology which are important first steps towards understanding metrics and their use when quantifying website quality. Once quantified, the websites can be benchmarked by evaluators and website owners for comparison with competitor sites. The thesis presents a study of five mature eCommerce websites. The study involves identifying, defining and collecting data counts for 67 site-level criteria for each site. These counts are specific to website product quality and include criteria such as occurrences of hyperlinks and menus which underpin navigation, occurrences of activities which underpin interactivity, and counts relating to a site’s eCommerce maturity. Lack of automated count collecting tools necessitated online visits to 537 HTML pages and performing manual counts. The thesis formulates a new approach to measuring website quality, named Metric Ratio Analysis (MRA). The thesis demonstrates how one website quality factor - engagibility - can be quantified and used for website comparison analysis. The thesis proposes a detailed theoretical and empirical validation procedure for MRA.

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