The Value of User Participation in E-Commerce Systems Development

Julian Terry, Craig Standing
InSITE 2003  •  Volume 3  •  2003
The importance attached to user participation in contributing to the success of an information system has been a long held theoretical belief. Systems development techniques have been promoted that involve user participation such as prototyping, rapid application development and joint application design. Interestingly, the research literature on the topic has not been conclusive about the real value of user partic i-pation, although the perception of value has still existed. The importance of user participation could be seen as a myth in information systems. In e-commerce the pressure to develop Web based systems in Internet time and the propagation of the view that e-commerce is different and subject to different rules has led developers to question the value of customer participation in the development process. Indeed, the notion of the "user" has become confused. The IS/E-commerce discipline may be guilty of misinformation. This paper proposes and validates a model to examine the role of key users or stakeholders in e-commerce application development. This framework for analysing user participation and system success takes into account the different requirements of each distinct group. Despite the business need for remote, untrained users to quickly feel comfortable and satisfied in an e-commerce site encounter, it appears that many organisations are making little effort to engage users in e-commerce site developmental activities.
electronic commerce, systems development, user participation
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