A theoretical approach to Web design in E-commerce: A belief reinforcement model

Jaeki Song, Fatemeh Zahedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


Effective website design plays a critical role in attracting and maintaining customers' interest. Despite the importance of websites as the major and, at times, sole channel of communication in e-business, little theoretical knowledge is available about how websites may influence online shoppers' attitudes and behavior. In this paper, we develop a conceptual framework for measuring the impact of Web-design elements on the beliefs and behavior of Web customers. In developing the theoretical model (called the belief reinforcement model, or BRM), we synthesize the theory of planned behavior with theories in social psychology, consumer behavior, and management to categorize Web-design elements and conceptualize the salient aspects of Web shoppers' behavior. The empirical examination of BRM indicates that various categories of Web-design elements reinforce Web customers' beliefs, which in turn positively impact attitudinal constructs that lead to changes in their purchase intentions. BRM and its results provide an initial guideline for a rigorous approach to designing websites for e-business and testing their effectiveness before their full deployment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1235
Number of pages17
JournalManagement Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Actor-network theory
  • External referents
  • External subjective norm
  • Isomorphism
  • Theory of planned behavior
  • Web-customer beliefs
  • Web-design elements


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