Does Interface Design Influence Consumers' Security Perception?

Does Interface Design Influence Consumers' Security Perception?

Faouzi Kamoun (Zayed University, UAE) and Mohanad Halaweh (Al Falah University, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9787-4.ch113

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E-commerce has been providing organizations with unprecedented opportunities to enlarge their customer base and establish competitive business models. A 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 (Schonfeld, 2010). A more recent Forester Research predicts that e-commerce sales volume will increase to $279 billion by 2015. 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). Earlier studies (Kurnia & Benjamin, 2007; Özkan et al., 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. As a result, customers’ positive perception of security is an essential pre-requisite to their willingness to engage in online transactions with a site (Zhao-Fu et al., 2010; Turner, 2003; Fogg et al., 2001).

Security Perception Defined

Previous research defined security perception as the extent of users’ “beliefs” that their personal information is secure when conducting transactions online (Lallmahamood, 2007; Yenisey et al., 2005; Chellappa & Pavlou, 2002; Salisbury et al., 2001). Security perception is therefore a subjective issue (Halaweh, 2011; Pousttchi & Wiedemann, 2007; Linck et al., 2006). Halaweh (2011) differentiated between perceived security and the actual security, with the latter being enforced by security technologies and mechanisms. He argues that some users’ perceptions of security may include actual security, therefore being termed the perception of reality (actual security). For example, if a user perceives that using SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol, through the appearance of “http” followed by an “s” in the address bar, makes a website more secure, then this provides a perception that is relevant to actual security. On the other hand, perceived security does not necessarily imply actual security. For example, if a customer perceives the presence of a company’s address information (e.g. location, fax and telephone numbers) as an indicator of e-commerce security, then this perception might not reflect the actual security of the website. Therefore security perception is merely a ‘feeling’ and/or ‘belief’ that the website is credible in the user’s own mind set. However, although these security perceptions differ from actual (objective) security, they are still important (Halaweh, 2011). Theses perceptions are usually related to usability and design aspects that have influence on the feeling and belief on security (Göktürk & Şişaneci, 2014; Chang & Chen, 2009, Sharma & Yurcik, 2004). This is a very relevant issue for many online shoppers as many of them are not familiar with the technical aspects of security.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Design Aesthetics: Principles of making the elements of the user interface visually appealing.

Security Perception: The extent to which one believes that a website is secure for exchanging private information.

Empirical Study: Research approach that makes use of direct and indirect observations or experiences to derive knowledge based on actual experience rather than theory or belief.

Website Navigation: Process, supported by a set of user interface components, that allows users to move around a website.

Human Computer Interface (HCI): The combination of software or hardware that allows a human user to interact with a computer system.

Live Chat Window: Viewing box where participants can engage in live discussions with one another.

Privacy: The state of being free from unwanted intrusions of others in one’s personal information.

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