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A conceptual framework for international Web design

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3 Author(s)
F. Zahed ; Sch. of Bus. Adm., Wisconsin Univ., Milwaukee, WI, USA ; W. V. Van Pelt ; J. Song

We develop a conceptual framework for exploring significant differences in how people from diverse cultural backgrounds and with diverse individual characteristics might perceive and use Web documents. This is the first stage of a large multistage empirical study of user satisfaction and effectiveness of various Web designs based on cultural and individual factors. We identify six cultural factors and six individual factors that could impact the effectiveness of Web documents. The six cultural factors include: power distance, individualism versus collectivism, masculinity versus femininity, anxiety avoidance, long-term versus short-term orientation, and polychronic versus monochronic time orientation. The six individual factors include: demographics (age and gender), professional knowledge, information technology knowledge, flexibility, information processing abilities, and cultural knowledge. Based on the conceptual model proposed, we develop a number of testable, specific propositions on how Web document effectiveness could be impacted by the cultural and individual factors in various Web designs. In order to measure document effectiveness of each design, we identify components of Web document effectiveness as perceived usability, reliability, clarity, and comprehension that, in turn, influence readers' overall satisfaction with Web documents. Using the propositions presented, one can measure and analyze how cultural and individual factors influence users' satisfaction, which will assist researchers, educators, and communicators working with various Web designs

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 2 )