The Impact of Web Design Dimensions on Consumer Trust at Different Price Ranges
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As the use of e-commerce websites continues to increase, and with cybercrime on the rise, trust in a website has become an important issue. Hence, online stores invest time, money and effort in their website design; they must design websites in a manner that creates a strong bond of trust between consumer and retailer. This thesis examines the relationship between web design features and trust while taking into consideration the cost of the items. Web design features were considered and classified into 5 dimensions: (1) Graphic Design, (2) Structural Design (3) Content Design (4) Social Cue Design and (5) Perceived Security. Three methods were used to study this relationship. The first was an online survey of the features of websites that generated trust. The survey specifically addressed the issue of item cost. The second was an experimental manipulation of web design features and item cost. Participants were asked to directly contrast four different website designs so to determine which features matter more to trust. Item cost was an explicit part of the manipulation, comparing the same websites promoting an expensive and an inexpensive item. The final task was a structured interview. Generally, it was found that different features did affect trust. Features that fell within the category of graphic design dimension were the least important while features classified as content design dimension were the most important. However, features from every category mattered. The effect of item price was more ambiguous, but some features mattered more for inexpensive items (a convenient layout for fast product selection) whereas other features tended to be more important for expensive items (i.e., product information and detail). This study also discovered (through the interview primarily) that interactivity in a website is a relatively new feature that has an affect on consumer trust. The type of interactivity varied as a function of item cost.