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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Development and Validation of the University Website Evaluation Scale (UWES): A Tool for Assessing Website User Experience on a University Website
by Coloma, Jennifer, Ph.D., Alliant International University, 2012, 152; 3541260
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was threefold: (a) to identify factors important to university website users when forming individual attitudes about a university, (b) to develop an associated University Website Evaluation Scale (UWES), and (c) to assess the psychometric properties of the scale. The UWES was designed from the social and clinical psychology, marketing, and human computer interaction literatures. Content and face validity were established through interviews with marketing and website design professionals. The UWES was then piloted, revised, and launched referencing a private non-profit university website with 198 participants recruited through purposive sampling (university and association listservs, social media and business networks, and word-of-mouth). The final 24-item UWES consisted of four subscales with strong internal consistency: Heuristics cues (Visual Appeal and Interactive Links) and Systematic cues (University Experience and Website as a Resource). This study provides a number of contributions to the literature: (a) a new tool for universities to use in evaluating the appeal of their websites to the outside world as well as within the university; and (b) a new a multidisciplinary theoretical model to guide university website development. Limitations to the study included cautions on generalization associated with purposive sampling. Recommendations for future researchers include exploring how dimensions of the website user experience interact to predict consequential attitudes about the university, and even, the likelihood of desired actions, such as applying for admission to programs. It is hoped that this study will spark interest among clinical psychologists to branch out into researching users' thoughts, behaviors, and emotions associated with website user experiences.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Henderson, Sheila
Commitee: Ja, Davis, Wedding, Danny
School: Alliant International University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Information Technology, Educational psychology, Sociology
Keywords: Attitude formation, Heuristic-systematic model, Internet, Scale development, User experience, Website evaluation
Publication Number: 3541260
ISBN: 978-1-267-67177-6
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