Exploring the webmaster’s perception and explanation of website quality
Purpose – The objective of this paper is to investigate how webmasters within government bodies explain quality of websites. Despite the central position for advancing the communication, bridging usability tests and design, there are surprisingly few studies on how webmasters perceive, experience and explain website quality or design issues. Design/methodology/approach – The authors' unit of analysis is webmasters from Norwegian web-award-winning organizations. Eight webmasters from four types of websites were interviewed. The websites were purposefully sampled, using the strategy of maximal variation sampling to maximize difference between the four types of websites. Findings – The findings reveal that issues concerning usability are found to be an important dimension of website quality. The authors' analysis of how webmasters explain website quality reveals substantial variance in explanation of website quality. Repeated keywords of website quality are mainly related to user-friendliness, effective website usage, content-related issues and accessibility (WAI-principles). Research limitations/implications – This study includes webmasters from award-winning websites. In upcoming research contributions, it would add to the richness of the study if webmasters from non-award-winning websites were included. Measurement of website quality and success is widely addressed within the research literature. This paper offers the opportunity to understand how practitioners (i.e. webmasters) facilitate for website quality, grounded in their perception and explanations of which quality aspects they found to be of importance. Practical implications – The website quality aspects identified in this paper can be used as insights for how to develop and improve the quality of websites with the public sector. Social implications – The overall digital enabled transformation of government appears to be guided by a rather heterogeneous set of quality standards. While a variance of quality standards might stimulate innovation in websites, it can also lead to a substantial difference in digital services provided to citizens. Thus, the authors' research stimulates the awareness of diversity of quality parameters and could have as an implication that national and international standards beyond accessibility standards are more explicitly shared and debated. Originality/value – The aim of this paper is to provide insights into website practitioners' (i.e. webmasters') perception and explanation of quality aspects in websites. Webmasters are important contributors to the quality of available websites, and it is of particular benefit to learn about their suggestions. Most studies tackle perception of website quality from a user's point of view, while the added knowledge in this paper is the webmaster's explanation.
Transforming Government, 2013, Vol 7, Issue 3, p. 322-341
Website Quality; Qualitative Interviews; Webmasters; DeLone and Mclean IS Success Model; Web Sites; Quality