The application of usability principles to create web-based applications that achieve increased system usage
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This research work investigates and reports on the contribution of usability and perceptual frameworks towards understanding and ultimately increasing usage of a sales website and a corporate marketing website for a major insurance company in South Africa. It investigates whether the application of usability principles to the sales web positively influences the usage of the sales web system as a tool by intermediaries, and in so doing help the organisation recoup their investment and lower operational costs. This financial services (traditionally insurance) company, like many organisations, is in the process of migrating key operational systems onto web platforms to take advantage of benefits such as the ubiquity of web access and services orientated architecture among others. The research reviewed key frameworks in the area of technology acceptance or usage namely Nielsen‟s usability attributes (Nielsen, 2003). The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), (Davis, 1989). The Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). The Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1985); and derived a theoretical summative model (the Conceptual Research Model) that combined both usability and perceptual dimensions. The applicability of this summative model was empirically tested using quantitative data relating to system usage and user perception. Empirical evidence was gathered to prove and refine the Conceptual Research Model (CRM), and the data substantiated the inclusion of the constructs in the CRM, as well as the efficacy of the model in a financial services organisation. Through testing of the CRM, this research has also confirmed which specific attributes of usability can be focussed on to bring about positive change in users' usage behaviour and adoption of a website or web application.