Morris, M.,G. & Dillon, A. How User Perceptions Influence Software Use. IEEE Software, July/August 1997, pp. 58-65.

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The article states that technology acceptance model (TAM) offers theoretically valid and cheap way to evaluate both finished systems and systems under development. In addition the article presents a questionnaire which can be used to measure perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, attitude toward using, and behavioral intentions to use the analyzed system. These are the factors that according to TAM influence to the user’s acceptance of the technology. The questionnaire combines and adapts questions from two older studies. The questionnaire consists of four demographic questions and 18 agree-disagree questions (seven-level Likert scale).

Interestingly TAM is a predicting, not describing theory. This means that while TAM can predict the acceptance (and thus success of certain technology) and identify e.g. perceived usability as a problem area, it can not inform designers on how the system should be changed. Thus TAM and the questionnaire should be used in conjunction with usability evaluation methods. On the other hand while usability evaluation methods can point out usability problems of a system, they do not predict the actual usage and thus require TAM or other theories to support them.

The article is published on 1997. The authors claim that TAM is only seldom used by usability specialist. It would be interesting to hear if this has changed during last 15 years. Also TAM has been further developed during the years and I need to check how the questionnaire has been changed.

The article’s research case gives a nice example of the speed of technology development and changes during last few years. The article is based on a study of university students’ acceptance and usage of Netscape Navigator web browser. In 1997 the browser was not yet the de facto browser in Indiana University and studying its acceptance made sense. After few years Netscape was to be used by about 90 percent of people surfing the web and nowadays the software is obsolete.

Posted by Petri

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