User Interface Design and E-Commerce Security Perception: An Empirical Study

User Interface Design and E-Commerce Security Perception: An Empirical Study

Faouzi Kamoun (Zayed University, UAE) and Mohanad Halaweh (University of Dubai, UAE)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/jebr.2012040102


In this study, the authors investigate the relationship between human computer interface design and users’ security perception. The authors hypothesize that effective human computer interface design has a positive impact on security perception. To test this hypothesis, they use the seven design elements of the customer interface (7Cs) as a basis of the reference framework for effective interface design. Hypothesis testing was examined through an empirical study involving 247 subjects. Research reveals that human computer interface design significantly affects the perceived security of e-commerce portals. Further analysis of the results highlights that the top HCI factors that influence security perception are permanent working links, demos and online help tools, information accuracy, and easy website navigation. Therefore, this study suggests that applying good user interface design guidelines at the storefront can be an effective technique for enhancing user security perception and increasing trust and purchase intention.
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Introduction And Research Background

The emergence of e-commerce as the catalyst for online sales has changed the way consumers shop for goods and services. At the same time, e-commerce provides unprecedented opportunities for many firms to enlarge their customer base and establish competitive business models. A recent Forester research report predicts that e-commerce sales in the U.S. will keep growing at a 10 percent compound annual growth rate, reaching nearly $250 billion in 2014, up from $155 billion in 2009 (Schonfeld, 2010). Unfortunately, this growth in e-commerce has been accompanied by an increase in the number and sophistication of fraudulent web practices; thus raising consumer concerns about online security (VeriSign, 2009). Recent studies (Abrazhevich, 2004; Kurnia & Benjamin, 2007; Özkan et al., 2010; Dolatabadi & Ebrahimi, 2010; Yulihasri et al., 2011) have shown that low perceived security and trust in e-commerce and e-payment systems negatively affects consumers’ intention to purchase online. Further, a Gartner study (Gartner, 2006) reported that US retailers lost near $2 Billion in e-commerce sales because of the security fears of online shoppers. In particular, about half of the $2 Billion losses were due to consumers who avoided sites that they perceived to be less secure, while the remaining losses were attributed to people who, in the first place, were afraid to engage in e-commerce transactions. For most retailers, however, the agony is that the main deriver of consumers’ reluctance to buy online mostly comes from their perception of e-commerce security, rather than from the real lack of security per se. As a result, customers’ positive perception of security is an essential pre-requisite to their willingness to engage in online transactions with a site (Turner, 2003; Zhao-Fu et al., 2010; Fogg et al., 2001). Here we adopt Salisbury (2001) definition of security perception as “the extent to which one believes that the web is secure for transmitting sensitive information” (p. 166).

Understanding the nature of end users’ perception of security and the factors that influence this perception has been the subject of extensive research during the past few years. Most of the earlier contributions have focused on the impact of website security and privacy features on users’ security perception and trust (see e.g., Xiaoyan & Zhiying, 2010; Ally & Toleman, 2005; Yousafzai et al., 2005; Chellappa & Pavlou, 2002).

Online trust is a multi-faceted and context-dependent construct that involves cognitive, behavioral, psychological, cultural, uncertainty and risk factors, among others. Perceived trust can be built and reshaped before, during and after the online transaction (Wang, 2009). The concept can perhaps be better understood by invoking Egger’s (2000) Model of Trust for Electronic Commerce (MoTEC). MoTEC recognizes three main trust- Informational content inducing factors (aka filters) that can potentially convert users into e-commerce customers. These are pre-purchase knowledge, interface properties, and information content.

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