User-centred design to engender trust in e-commerce
Consumer trust is a core element for any e-commerce website. This study aimed to explore attributes of business-to-consumers (B2C) e-commerce websites that can communicate and engender trust from the users’ perspective using user-centred design. E-commerce websites are known to have features such as security certificates and encryption methods to ensure trust, but this requires technical knowhow to understand. The technologies used to develop websites have improved so far, but it has little effect on improving the trust of the users of e-commerce mostly in developing countries (Africa in particular). E-commerce users do not realise that these features have been put in place for the trustworthiness of the websites which contributes to their reluctance to conduct business transactions online, thus reducing their buying intentions. There is a need to design e-commerce websites to communicate/ convey trust from the users’ perspective. The study explored various sources of data to obtain insight and understanding of the research problem—user-centred design (UCD) group activity with users, interviews with developers, and secondary prior literature. Using UCD as the main methodology, an intensive UCD workshop activity with a group of eight e-commerce users was carried out. Furthermore, to obtain the view of experts (developers) on what is currently done to engender trust in B2C e-commerce websites, interviews with four respondents were also carried out. These interviews were intended to reduce any prejudice or bias and to obtain a clearer understanding of the phenomenon being studied. The findings from the study revealed six main attributes to engender trust, namely aesthetics design, security and information privacy, functionality design, trustworthiness based on content, development process, and vendor attributes. Proposed guidelines for each of the attributes were outlined. The findings from the users showed that those who were acquainted with the e-commerce technologies were those whose backgrounds are computer and technology related. Most users focused on aesthetics design, functionality, and security of their privacy and private details. Less emphasis was placed on the technology behind the e-commerce websites. Users use their aesthetic and cognitive value in their judgement for trust. The findings from the research were further validated using the Domestication of Technology Theory (DTT), which resulted in the development of a user-centred e-commerce trust model.