CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Seniors Go Online, An Assessment of the Value of Usability: Is it Perceived Usefulness or Perceived Ease of use ?

Date of Award

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

Edward Aqua

Abstract

Many companies now actively use the Web as a key marketing and sales vehicle for their goods or services. To be successful, e-commerce Web sites must be useful, easy to use, easy to navigate, and easy to understand - measures of the Technology Acceptance Model's (TAM) variables Perceived Usefulness and Perceived Ease of Use . Although many studies have used the model to better understand e-commerce, the problem is that they have ignored one very important external variable - the effects that an aging population may have on the usability the Internet and of e-commerce Web sites. As people age, they begin to experience problems with their vision, their hearing, cognitive functions, and their mobility.

The researcher modified the TAM to reflect the impact that aging may have on two variables, Web Site Usability and Internet Usability. A field study on four e-commerceWeb sites was conducted by 21 participants from two southeast Florida senior organizations. The participants, all people 65 years of age or older, included 11 students and staff members from a SeniorNet computer training class at the Daniel Cantor Senior Center and 10 members from the Lifelong Learning Institute, a department in the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences at Nova Southeastern University. The quantitative data collected during the field study were analyzed, tested for reliability, and validated using the partial least squares structural equation modeling approach. Qualitative data about seniors' use of the four Web sites were also collected and used to identify Web site designs that impede successful use of e-commerce Web sites. It was found that the research model accurately reflects the effects of the aging process and that the perceived usefulness of e-commerce Web sites positively and significantly influenced a senior's attitude toward using and intention to use the Web sites. It was also found that a Web site's usability positively and significantly influenced the perceived ease of use of e-commerce Web sites. Out of nine hypotheses, six were rejected and three were not rejected. The model and the results from the study can be used as a baseline for future studies.

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