Quality assessment of e-commerce websites using Bayesian belief networks
2011-02-14T09:27:47Z (GMT) by
This thesis raises the issue of quality in E-commerce websites and addresses methodologies and approaches to standardize their assessment. The thesis blends the knowledge of academic research with the opinions and insights from experts and practitioners in the field to provide a comprehensive view of the issues and their remedies. The most experienced and successful E-commerce companies are beginning to realize that key determinants of success or failure are not merely a web presence or a low price but delivering a high quality website. Recent research shows that price and promotion are no longer the main draws for customers to make a decision on a purchase. More sophisticated online customers would rather pay a higher price to a provider with high quality service. Given that the establishment of an E-commerce website is mainly a software development effort; there are several standards that apply in governing the quality of such development. There seems to be an almost overwhelming abundance of quality standards that lead to a high level of cynicism and skepticism surrounding them and the eventual lack of use. Furthermore, no standard can directly predict the quality a website under development is going to achieve. Past approaches concerning the quality of E-commerce websites emphasize usability standards using techniques like feature inspection and collecting data about end-users' opinion by questionnaires. These methods provide important feedback and their results can be utilized as a useful background for future work, however, they do not contribute directly to a dynamic model that enables forecasting. The study of quality in the domain of the Internet in general, and E-commerce in particular, poses new challenges as technology evolves, including methods and metrics for estimating, managing quality during the product life cycle and quality-of-use measurement. The solution proposed by this research is to use a Bayesian Belief Network model. This model provides a consistent and practical approach to assessing the quality of the website. The assessment can be carried out before the completion of the website development, thus, providing insight on the trend and direction for correction and improvements. It can also be carried out on completed and operational work, providing analysis of areas for improvement. The model should be relatively quick and practical in providing an overall comprehensive assessment with root-cause analysis that would lead to corrective measures to improve the quality of the E-commerce website. In this research idioms were applied in realizing a complete Bayesian Belief Network model. The conclusions are measured against comparative assessment to validate the practical benefits of the work accomplished. The WebQual method was utilized to validate the "belief" established by the model.