Critical Factors to Successful Website Development: Opinions of Website Designers and Developers

Critical Factors to Successful Website Development: Opinions of Website Designers and Developers

Pradeep Korgaonkar (Florida Atlantic University, USA), Bay O’Leary (Nova Southeastern University, USA), Ronnie Silverblatt (Florida International University, USA) and Kevin Korgaonkar (University of Rochester, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-132-4.ch018
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Abstract

This study was conducted to help understand the factors involved in building a successful website. A national survey of professionals in the areas of website design and development were contacted. Based on past published writings in the literature eight factors were identified as critical to the success of website functionality. The factors that are consistently posited in the literature are: 1) Entertainment and Visual Appeal, 2) Reliability, 3) Cost Reductions Attained, 4) Back-End Processes Enabled, 5) Personalization, 6) Information Quality, 7) User Empowerment, and 8) Privacy/Security. Study results are based on the analysis of 349 responses and provide support for the research hypotheses.
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Introduction

The field of electronic commerce is registering significant and sustainable growth in the U.S.A. Originally, the primary purpose of a website was to provide information about a company and its products/services. Today, companies utilize websites as an efficient and convenient way to provide these products and services to their customers in addition to helping them develop and maintain long term relationships with these customers. In the United States alone, there are over 210 million users of the Internet; this equates to almost 70% of the population. Worldwide, over 1 billion people (World Internet Usage, 2007) are surfing the the millions of websites on the Web (http://www.websiteoftheyear.co.uk/winners.php).

Clearly, a website is an interface between an organization and its stakeholders such as customers, financial community, suppliers, etc. The interface is strategically important so as to gain a competitive advantage both locally as well as globally. As a consequence, a few studies have attempted to determine how consumers evaluate websites. However, little is known about what those who actually create, operate, and maintain the website operations think regarding the key issues of website design. Although consumers’ opinions are important, we believe it is equally important to seek the opinion of the professionals in the field regarding the factors they think make or break website operations. For most establishments, it is either too difficult or cost prohibitive to seek the opinions of consumers. As a result, companies are forced to rely on the expertise of Web designers. For example, in a survey of small and medium size businesses, over 80% sought assistance of Web designers and developers outside their organizations before activating their websites (Eisammani, Hackney, Scown, 2004).

Thus, this study fills an important void in the existing literature. This void is filled by (1) surveying professionals in the area of website design and development, (2) polling a national sample of Web designers and developers instead of using convenience samples of past studies, and (3) building upon past exploratory studies by focusing on the factors reported to be significant in more than one study.

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