The Web-based information systems regarded as a specific type of information system (IS) bring significant advantages to organizations and users because they are tools to manage, disseminate, and obtain knowledge. The advantages or benefits include creation of added value to goods and services, greater safety, better service, competitive advantage, error reduction, improved product quality, improved communication, efficiency, and productivity, greater administrative efficiency, more opportunities, cost reduction, reduction in labor requirements, stronger support to decision-making, stricter control over operations, and better decision choices (Stair, 1996).
Key Terms in this Chapter
User Satisfaction: Essentially, there are two types of definition for the “customer (user) satisfaction” concept, based on different approaches. The process-oriented approach considers consumer satisfaction as the difference between expected satisfaction and achieved satisfaction, whereas the outcome-oriented approach regards satisfaction as an attribute extracted from a product or service after its consumption.
Usability: The usability concept refers to the time a system takes to perform tasks, to user satisfaction and to the ease with which the user learns to interact with that system. According to the ISO 9126-1 standard, usability is defined as “the capability of a software product to be understood, learned, used, and attractive to the user when used under specified conditions.”
Usability Measures: Usability measures identify aspects crucial to business processes and user perspectives, being defined in terms of the characteristics they intend to evaluate, the performance of the measurement techniques as well as the data and information they refer to. Usability measures that are internal to the system usually refer to aspects of manual structuring, use of menus and graphs, informative system error messages, help messages to the user and existence of consistent interfaces. The external measures essentially refer to aspects of learnability and operability, in other words, they afford measurement of how easy it is to learn to work with that system and how productive it is to the user.
Information Systems: Systems that use technology to capture, transmit, store, retrieve, manipulate, or show information used in one or more business processes. The approach centered on human and organizational factors stresses the interest of organizations in the systems’ product or result (response ability) as well as usability and satisfaction of human users.
Web-Based Information System: An information system that operates on the Web. The Web-based information systems provide information and knowledge or personal satisfaction that is not quantifiable by traditional means. This type of system is not limited to dissemination of information as it generates proactive interactivity between users and processes or specific tasks.
Quality Characteristics: System evaluation should consider information system quality postulates. According to the ISO 9126-1 standard, quality refers to the following set of system characteristics: functionality, reliability, usability, efficiency, maintainability, and portability.
Quality Metrics: Several characteristics involving the quality notion are used as a framework for validation (external quality) and verification (internal quality). These characteristics present different development stages until they become measurable through metrics. Initially considered generic characteristics, they are then refined to detect sub-characteristics, which are in turn refined to detect attributes, which are then finally measured through metrics.