The purpose of this research is to explore whether consumer expectations of web site attributes differ according to information‐seeking or transaction tasks. Information seeking is a distinct online activity and is an important first stage of the Internet adoption process. However, there is little empirical research that compares online search and transaction behaviour.
This pilot study focuses on retail bank web sites in order to select a service familiar to consumers for which a web site would serve as both an information source and a transaction channel. A self‐administered questionnaire collected data from a convenience sample of 160 UK adults in December 2005. The questionnaire measured normative and predictive expectations of systems and information quality.
The findings show differences between task contexts with regards to the requirement to supply personal details, the presence of a search engine and the inclusion of moving graphics. There are implications for studies informed by the SERVQUAL approach to measuring web site quality.
The acknowledged research limitations are the sampling method, sample size, sample composition and industry context, which contribute to the low generalisability of the results. However, the findings indicate that there are differences in task scenario worthy of investigation in broader studies.
Task scenario differences mean that data collection instruments should specify to respondents for which task a multi‐functional web site is being measured. This will be of value to practitioners and researchers who are studying web site quality.
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