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EJISDC (2013) 58, 5, 1-21

A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF ISLAMIC WEBSITES DESIGN FEATURES THAT INFLUENCE USE: A PROPOSED MODEL
Mansur Aliyu mansuraliyu@yahoo.com Abu Osman Md Tap abuosman@iium.edu.my Murni Mahmud murni@iium.edu.my Rasheed Mohammad Nassr rasheedmn50@hotmail.com

Department of Information Systems Kulliyyah of Information and Communication Technology International Islamic University Malaysia P.O. Box 10, 50728 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ABSTRACT The growing availability of the Internet and advances in the use of technology among Muslims have led to an increase in the number of websites with an Islamic content. Currently, there is an emerging trend in the improvement of the design and quality of Islamic websites. Islamic websites serve as a medium for Islamic organizations, scholars, and individuals to contribute and participate in several online activities. This research is drawn from the deep understanding that website design is a major factor affecting the use of websites by Muslim users. We therefore investigate the most important design features that influence Muslims to use websites in learning about Islam, as an alternative to the traditional face-to-face learning from scholars and books. Website design is measured by functionality, navigation, interactivity, attractiveness, and organizational features, and website use by the extent to which frequent use is influenced by the websites design features. An online survey was conducted from November to December 2012. 89 usable responses were collected from faculty members and students at the International Islamic University Malaysia. The participants have experience in using Islamic websites. They were guided to the survey website via the faculty students mailing list and Facebook group page. The findings indicate that website attractiveness, functionality, navigation, organizational information, and security/privacy are the most important factors influencing the use of Islamic websites. Interactivity design features were found to be least significant in influencing Muslim users to use Islamic websites for religious purposes. The majority of the Muslim users visit Islamic websites to search for information, seek for scholars opinions regarding personal issues/problems (Q&A), and learn about Quran and Hadith. The results of the study are valuable indicators for the direction of future research, and also suggest guidelines for the successful development and adoption of Islamic websites. Keywords: Islamic website, design features, website use, user perceptions 1. INTRODUCTION Seeking Islamic information and knowledge from online sources is now widespread. Equally, many Islamic organizations and scholars are using the Internet to spread their teachings and services by providing a vast amount of religious content online. Creating a well-designed website will attract more online users and encourage them to keep visiting the website. Islamic websites can be considered as websites whose main objective is to convey the true teachings and practice of Islam online, and to promote peace and understanding among different religions, groups, and communities. Simply, they are a means of conveying Islamic
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teachings and practice through the Internet. They provide comprehensive information about Islam to their visitors, to enable them clarify their misconceptions, misinterpretations and misunderstandings about Islam and Muslims. Generally, Islamic websites provide many online services related to the Quran, the Sunna, the Hajj, lectures and sermons, radio and television channels, chatrooms, Islamic screensavers, eCards, advertisement, quizzes, games, donating online, ordering products, etc. Most interestingly, these services are guided by an Islamic etiquette (Bruckner, 2001). In addition, online fatwas (scholars opinions in response to users questions) are one of the most important services since the start of their popularity in the early 2000s. The interactive component of the Internet has made online fatwa services not only possible, but also easy and accessible. Such virtual services, however, impact certain Islamic beliefs and practices (Bruckner, 2001). For example, virtual online fatwas are different from the traditional fatwas in which both the questioner and the scholar are from the same environment and have meet face-to-face. In the cyber-Islamic environment, it does not matter where the questioner (website user) or the scholar comes from. Nevertheless, the question as to whether using the Internet and website is halal (permissible) or haram (forbidden) has been addressed by many websites and scholars. Specifically, IslamiCity.com a popular Islamic website based in the USA, holds the opinion that the Internet is a tool that can be used for good or for bad purposes (No. 294, 492, 3252, 3468, 3495), which means the Internet in itself is not haram (Bruckner, 2001). Therefore, using the Internet for online activities with sincere intention to restrict oneself to what is permitted and avoid what is prohibited in Islam is permissible. Regarding computer images, IslamiCity issued the fatwa that they do not fall under the Islamic prohibition of images (No. 829); therefore, Islamic web developers are permitted to use lawful website design features to make their websites functional and attractive. However, conversation with the opposite sex in chatrooms is prohibited, except where there is a true and sincere intention to get married. Even so, sending photographs to an Internet fianc(e) is forbidden according to the fatwa issued via the Internet by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih a l-Uthaymeen (Islam - Q&A, No. 4027, Bruckner, 2001). Bruckner (2001) argued that: A multitude of competing Islamic opinions are distributed via internet. In one of its responses, IslamiCity points out that the dynamic change of websites is a limiting factor to the verification of the authenticity of information, stating that IslamiCity does not act as a watchdog over all material (No. 2055). With the possibilities of the internet, IslamiCity builds not only an Islamic institution but also creates a community of virtually connected Muslims. Hence, this dynamic and uncontrolled nature of Islamic websites is motivating some researchers to examine various aspects (i.e. their design, information architecture, contents, and organizational objectives). Researchers who attempt to study Islamic websites differently view them as community-based (Bunt, 2000, 2003), organization-based (Bunt, 2003; Daniels, 2004; Adhami, 2008), culture-based (Wan Abdul Rahim et al., 2008), information-based (Ibrahim et al., 2010), Quranic-based (Noordin & Othman, 2006; Bakeri, 2010), Hadithbased (Nor Shahriza & Norzelatun, 2005) and fatwa (scholars opinion) (Bruckner, 2001; Bunt, 2003; Sisler, 2009). Moreover, some researchers consider all websites about Islam as Islamic websites, and as such they neither classify nor categorize them (Suleman, 2005;
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Wan Abdul Rahim et al., 2006; Aliyu et al., 2010; Shafie et al., 2010; Mahmud et al., 2011; Ishak et al., 2011; Mahmud et al., 2012). In this study, we maintain the generic name Islamic website to represent websites that focus solely on providing information about Islamic teachings and practice (e.g. www.islamicity.com, www.islamtoday.net, islamicweb.net, www.islamonline.net, islamicway.com. Due to the rapid deployment of Islamic websites in recent years it is important to explore the features influencing their use, especially the design features that make them attractive to users. Hence, the objective of this study is to identify the most important design features that influence Islamic website use, categorize these features into several factors/constructs, and use these factors to build a model for Islamic website use. The model is intended to provide a mechanism that will enable website owners and designers to incorporate appropriate features in their website development and operations. This paper is divided into several sections: literature review, research model and hypotheses, research method, results, findings, conclusions, and research limitations. 2. LITERATURE REVIEW Several authors have proposed and investigated different empirical frameworks and models for Islamic website user interfaces (Wan Abdul Rahim et al., 2008) content (Suleman, 2005) and evaluation. Others have investigated the benefits of these websites to Muslims (Kasmani et al., 2008; Noordin & Othman, 2008) and Muslim users perceptions towards them (Ibrahim et al., 2008, 2010; Wan Abdul Rahim et al., 2008). A few have developed initial measurement scales for evaluation (Ishak et al. 2011; Mahmud et al., 2010; Wan Abdul Rahim et al., 2008; Suleman, 2005), although most of these scales needs to be further developed, restructured, retested and revalidated. This has led to a growing interest in other approaches that are used to conduct website evaluations at all levels of implementation and user behaviour. Since online Islamic activities have become a reality by providing opportunities and challenges for both owners and users, many Muslims have increasingly accepted blogs and online forums when seeking information about Islam online. However, there is a need to understand why Muslim users adopt such media as an alternative to learn about Islam (e.g. sharia, fatwa, etc.). A religious website can be considered as a group of features that convey the fundamental principles of that religion to its followers. Thus, Islamic websites use several features to convey the messages of Islam to online users and design features are considered most important to immediately capture the visitors attention. Design features refer to website performance indicators as perceived by users. They are evaluated according to their attractiveness, functionality, interactivity, navigation, organizational information, and security/privacy features. 2.1 Use of Islamic Websites Researchers have demonstrated that use is a key variable in explaining the impact of a website. Seddon (1997) pointed out that system use is a good proxy for IS success when the use is not mandatory. DeLone and McLean (2003) argued that system quality affects subsequent use which will in turn determine the benefits that accrue to the business (Ghandour, Benwell, and Deans, 2007). In online-Islam, website users are Muslim; use is voluntary. The nature of the websites use and the frequency of usage are significant indicators of website effectiveness, which will not only benefit the user but also will assist the organization in improving the quality of their website. Therefore, measures of use should be determined with reference to
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frequent or repeat visits, the length of time, the types of activity performed, good experience and feelings, and the pattern of their navigation (DeLone and McLean 2004). DeLone and McLean (2003) argued that website features impacts subsequent use and generates user experience. In the case of Muslim online users, their use is personal and voluntary. In website evaluation the nature and volume of use are both important measures of success (DeLone and McLean, 2003). Therefore website usage reflects how users are using the website (Ghandour, Benwell, and Deans, 2007) and whether usage helps in positively changing users religious behaviour. A common method of measuring website use is by conducting user research and asking users of about their experiences with the website. Such an approach is often costly and time consuming (Weischedel and Huizingh, 2006). Another method is to conduct a survey (paper or web-based questionnaire) or an experiment, asking users to carry out some task that will indicate their perceptions towards the website. This study is an online survey of Muslim online users with experience using Islamic websites for various activities. 2.2 Framework for Islamic Website Evaluation This framework for Islamic websites evaluation was developed by Suleman (2005) to determine whether website quality is associated with user satisfaction. He explored both design factors (navigation, interactivity, accessibility) and content factors (legitimacy, relevance, accuracy, authority, objectivity) to develop simple ranking criteria for Islamic websites. Employing 12 postgraduate students to evaluate 40 selected Islamic websites, he found that quality features were strongly associated with user satisfaction. This framework was then adapted and tested (Aliyu et al., 2010) in evaluating 50 popular Islamic websites. Two factors (design attractiveness and content reliability) were added to the framework, as their relative importance was perceived by the evaluators (Aliyu et al. 2010; Mahmud et al. 2011). In addition, 78 Muslim Internet users further explored design and content features of Islamic websites (Mahmud et al., 2012). The findings show that quality website features create a positive impression on users and subsequently lead to satisfaction. Hence, we found this framework suitable for exploring the Islamic website design features that influence their use. 3. 3.1 RESEARCH MODEL AND HYPOTHESES Research Model

Based on previous research (see Appendix), this study proposes a model for evaluating the use of Islamic websites (Fig. 1). The model determines which design features affect the use of Islamic websites and which of these features can be used to enhance their quality.

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Attractiveness Functionality Interactivity Navigation Organization Security/privac Figure 1. Islamic Website Use Model

IslamicWebsiteUse

The model considers key design features that influence use: functionality, navigation, interactivity, attractiveness, organization, and security/privacy. The model provides a foundation for understanding Islamic website use from the users perspective, which includes frequent use, long-term use, highly dependent use, and good experience of use. 3.2 Research Hypotheses Design features are the recognized performance elements of any website. They characterize websites for attractiveness, efficiency and effectiveness. Consistent with general website design criteria, the quality of Islamic websites depends on how functional, structured, interactive, and attractive they are to the users. Good design features have become increasingly important for evaluating users satisfaction with Islamic websites. The central design categories used to evaluate the design quality are functionality, navigation, interactivity, attractiveness, organization, and security/privacy (Daniels, 2004; Suleman, 2005; Wan Abdul Rahim et al., 2009; Mahmud et al., 2010). The identified design features are summarized in Table 1. A functional website can be described as accessible, easy to navigate, attractive, secure, and attracting frequent visitors. Website accessibility means providing all the functions needed by the visitor to find information (Loiacono, 2002). Therefore, a well presented and usable website promotes online presence and increases the number of visitors (Thelwall, 2001). However, for a website to attract more visitors it must portray good quality design features that are appealing to prospective users. Various researchers have investigated critical website design features that encourage potential new users to keep exploring the site and make repeat visits. Furthermore, the ease of website access has a significant impact on website use that is crucial in creating an increasing organizational online presence. Dreze and Zufryden (2004) suggest that navigation is a precursor to website traffic and can be enhanced through placing links on other websites related links. Navigation permits users to find the information he/she is looking for (Wan Abdul Rahim et al., 2008). Users obtain information using as few as possible steps; the design consistently provides hyperlinks on every web page, no broken links, and relevant hyperlinks (Katerattanakul, 2002). As such, publicizing websites through online directories, search engines, and creating related links to their home page (Dholakia and Rego, 1998) provides greater interactivity and functionality. This will help the website to attract more visitors who can easily become repeat users, resulting in a positive user experience (Saeed et al., 2002).

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Interestingly, previous studies assessed navigation and service interaction design features and attractive design features from a user perspective using eQual measures; they were found to be highly rated by users (Stockdale, et al., 2005). A good website is claimed to provide multiple navigation facilities to satisfy various users website layout, buttons/links, and menus. Website attractiveness consists of the issues of whether web pages are fun to read and subjectively pleasing (Ghandour, Benwell, and Deans, 2007). Kim et al. (2003) consider an attractive website to contain interesting features, be visually well-designed, and where visitors feel pleasure on each visit. Sutcliffe (2002) studied website aesthetics and content attractiveness and found that both are important for users to judge website design quality. Meanwhile, due to the non-face-to-face nature of interaction in online religious activities, users are found to be more hesitant and display a high level of uncertainty about Islamic website content. As a result, security design features have been found to increase the trustworthiness of a website, which in turn leads to improved website usage (Belanger et al., 2002). Another important element of Islamic websites is confidentiality. Personal information leaks can cause a negative reaction towards a website. Lack of information privacy and security is one of the main features that might influence users to avoid using a website. Some of the central issues might be stolen information, lack of privacy protection, unauthorized copying of intellectual information/property, the leaking of personal information, and attacks from hackers, viruses, etc. (Kim, Oh, Shin and Chae, 2009). Therefore, the lack of privacy can have a serious effect on the use of Islamic websites. Website organizational features include ownership, partnership, sponsorship, certification, and about & contact us information (names, address, phone numbers, e-mail). Generally, users may perceive an Islamic website as having a strong positive impact on the performance of religious activities. This perception may emanate from website design features. Accordingly, it can be argued that design features may have a significant impact on the users opinion and website use. Thus, we propose the following hypotheses: H1. H2. H3. H4. H5. H6. 4. 4.1 Attractiveness is positively associated with use of Islamic websites. Functionality is positively associated with use of Islamic websites. Interactivity is positively associated with use of Islamic websites. Navigation is positively associated with use of Islamic websites. Organization is positively associated with use of Islamic websites. Security/privacy is positively associated with use of Islamic websites. RESEARCH METHOD Research Instrument

The instrument for this study was developed from the existing literature summarized in Table 1. All the 86 website design features identified were modified to suit the current study. The website use items were adapted from information system research by DeLone and McLean (2003) and Kim, Oh, Shin and Chae (2009). In order to confirm the clarity, and identify any possible ambiguity in the wording of the instrument, two independent evaluators who had experience evaluating Islamic websites were used. Thereafter, a pilot study with 10 postgraduate students was conducted. The results provide valuable suggestions to add, remove, reword some items, as well as restructure the overall instrument.

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A structured online questionnaire was used to collect data to test the proposed hypotheses and validate the research model. The questionnaire was created and presented using the Google Docs application. It consists of four sections: (A) demographic questions; (B) questions about experience with Islamic websites; (C) questions about design features; and (D) questions about use of Islamic websites. All items except the demographic data were assessed using 5-point Likert scales (5 = most important 1 = least important). To assess Islamic website experience, respondents were asked to indicate hours and minutes they spend on the Internet and Islamic websites respectively. Using multiple choice answers, the respondents were also asked to select the reasons why they use Islamic websites and the types of Islamic activity they mostly performed online. 4.2 Research Respondents The sample respondents for this study are Muslims who have experience using Islamic websites for online Islamic activities such as Q&A, fatwa, blog/forum, learning hadiths, reading/listening to the Holy Quran, general information search, looking for Islamic references, audio/video downloads and current news updates. The International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) was selected for this study because nearly all its students are Muslim and it is mandatory for each student to register for a minimum of one Islamic related course. These Islamic courses are designed to assist students to improve their Islamic knowledge and understanding. The courses require students to use online resources for their assignments, projects and term papers. Moreover, since the administration of the questionnaires was online, a recruiting e-mail was sent only to Muslim users through the students mailing list and Facebook group. A total of 98 Muslim students completed the online questionnaire and therefore formed the sample for this study. The number of respondents was considered sufficient to meet the minimum satisfactory sample size in conducting factor analysis using partial least square (PLS) analysis (Chin, 1998; Gefen et al., 2000). 4.3 Data Collection Procedure Descriptive analysis to investigate the demographic characteristics of our respondents was performed. To validate the measurement of variables and test the hypotheses a partial leastsquare (PLS) regression was employed. The reason for using PLS is because its requirements for the sample size and residual distribution are not strict (Kim, Oh, Shin and Chae, 2009; Chin, 1998). The online survey was sent in November and completed in December 2012. The students official mailing list was used to send the Google Docs link to the survey. The students Facebook closed group was also used to post the survey link to increase the response rate. The completion of the questionnaires took 10-15 minutes. The survey was designed in such a way that each respondent must answer all the questions before sending/saving the results. This reduced errors and removed the issue of missing data. During the survey the respondents were asked to call or e-mail their enquiries to the researcher for additional explanation. Of the 98 responses collected, only 9 respondents indicated that they had no experience using Islamic websites and therefore were removed from the analysis. 4.4 Data Analysis Procedure The proposed model for Islamic website use was tested using partial least-square analysis to identify the best fit for the underlying constructs. PLS was chosen because it is relatively robust to deviations from a multivariate distribution, prediction-oriented and gives optimal prediction accuracy, can be applied to a relatively small sample size, and is appropriate for
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testing theories in the early stages of development (Head and Hassanein, 2007; Gefen et al., 2000; Fornell and Cha, 1994). According to Fornell and Bookstein (1982), PLS has an advantage over similar analysis approaches as it can be used without meeting the sample size requirements or specific scale measurements of nominal, ordinal, or interval. A model a with large number of variables and a limited sample size such as in this study can also be analyzed using PLS. Additionally, PLS can be used to analyze a model with weak theoretical establishments or relationships between variables (Falk & Miller, 1992). 5. 5.1 RESULTS Demographics

Table 1 below shows the respondents demographics. The respondents include faculty members of IIUM (11.2%), postgraduate (76.4%) and undergraduate (12.4%) students from the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology. Male respondents outnumbered female respondents. Most respondents were in their 30s, and the majority were from Nigeria and Malaysia. Most spend 4-7 hours on the Internet daily, and at least 15-30 minutes using Islamic website(s). Table 1: Respondents Demographic Characteristics Demographics characteristics Male Gender Female 15 25 Age 25 40 40+ Education Undergraduate Postgraduate level Faculty N 61 28 8 65 16 11 68 10 % 68.5 31.5 9.0 73.0 18.0 12.4 76.4 11.2 Islamic website experience Reasons for using Islamic website (multiple choice answers) N 16 36 48 25 55 % Country 18 40 54 28 62 Bangladesh Eritrea Indonesia Iraq Kashmir Libya Malaysia Netherlands Nigeria Pakistan Palestine Saudi Arabia Sudan Tanzania Thailand UK Uzbekistan Yemen N 2 1 1 2 2 2 24 1 33 2 4 2 2 1 3 5 1 1 % 2.2 1.1 1.1 2.2 2.2 2.2 26.9 1.1 37.1 2.2 4.5 2.1 2.2 1.1 3.4 5.6 1.1 1.1

Convenience References Curiosity Time saving Rich Islamic contents Easy access to scholars Info. not available offline Others 23 25.8 Activities Q&A/Fatwa 0 3 hours Hours 41 46.1 performed Chat/Blog/Forum spent on 4 7 hours Quran/Hadith 19 21.3 on 8 11 hours Internet Downloads 6 6.7 Islamic 12+ daily Audio/Video website (multiple Information 010 minutes 13 14.6 Minutes search choice spent Current events 1120 minutes 27 30.3 answers) using News updates Islamic 2130 minutes 27 30.3 Others website(s) 31+ minutes 22 24.7

28 31 36 40 8 69 38 63 46 57 65 9 78 42 71 52 64 73

31 35 24 27 1 1

5.2

Reliability and Validity Test

In order to test the reliability, Cronbach alpha and composite reliability values for each design construct were evaluated. Table 2 shows that Cronbach alpha values range from 0.8354 to 0.9382, well above the 0.7 mark. In addition, all the constructs show composite reliability values from 0.8903 to 0.9476, above the acceptable value of 0.6 which indicates
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high reliability of the constructs (Kim, Oh, Shin and Chae, 2009; Fornell and Larker, 1981). Lastly, the communality values were obtained to explain the proportion of variation of each factor explained by the other five constructs. The values range from 0.5511 to 0.6687 which indicates that the model explains most of the variation for those factors.

Table 2: Reliability and Validity Tests Construct Attractiveness Functionality Interactivity Navigation Organization Cronbach Alpha 0.9382 0.8724 0.9256 0.8706 0.8736 Composite Reliability 0.9476 0.9036 0.9391 0.8956 0.9041 0.9044 0.8903 Communality 0.6687 0.6102 0.6599 0.5511 0.6118 0.6123 0.6714

Security/privacy 0.8743 Islamic website 0.8354 use

Table 3 presents the results of the inter-construct correlations. The discriminant is supported because all the AVE values exceed 0.50 and are also greater than the variances shared by each construct and other constructs in the model (Chin, 1998; Kim, Oh, Shin and Chae, 2009). Table 3: Inter-construct Correlations Construct Attractiveness Functionality Interactivity Navigation Organizational AVE ATR FNT INT NAV ORG SCR USE

0.6687 0.8177 0.6102 0.6586 0.7812 0.6599 0.5332 0.4239 0.8123 0.5511 0.7178 0.6879 0.4427 0.7424 0.6118 0.6604 0.4998 0.5302 0.5999 0.7822 0.7402 0.7825 0.2867 0.4877 0.4667 0.8194

Security/privacy 0.6123 0.6286 0.5223 0.6093 0.705 Islamic website 0.6714 0.3853 0.3574 0.341 use

Table 4 presents the contructs cross-loadings of all the items that are greater than the cut-off value 0.70; also, all the items load more highly on their own construct than on other design constructs (Davis, 2003). Thus, the results indicate a satisfactory discriminant validity of all the constructs.

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EJISDC (2013) 58, 5, 1-21 Table 4: PLS Construct Cross-loading. Construct Attractiveness Items ATR1 ATR2 ATR4 ATR6 ATR7 ATR8 ATR10 ATR17 ATR19 Functionality FNT1 FNT2 FNT3 FNT5 FNT10 FNT12 Interactivity ITR6 ITR7 ITR8 ITR10 ITR11 ITR13 ITR17 ITR20 Navigation NVG2 NVG4 NVG7 NVG9 ATR FNT ITR NVG ORG SCR USE

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0.8185 0.5774 0.3715 0.5547 0.4206 0.3941 0.3448 0.8398 0.5939 0.3557 0.6451 0.4625 0.4733 0.2721 0.7667 0.4610 0.4976 0.5293 0.5661 0.5796 0.4161 0.8904 0.5390 0.3969 0.5795 0.5533 0.4926 0.2948 0.8799 0.5453 0.4688 0.6567 0.5809 0.5911 0.3040 0.8541 0.5617 0.3768 0.6550 0.5978 0.5885 0.3288 0.7547 0.6592 0.3460 0.6118 0.4790 0.4148 0.1312 0.7198 0.4690 0.4984 0.5023 0.5771 0.5023 0.2880 0.8191 0.5359 0.5477 0.5869 0.5870 0.5167 0.3041 0.5517 0.8002 0.3320 0.5337 0.3846 0.4167 0.2641 0.4637 0.7689 0.2826 0.4558 0.3915 0.3087 0.2756 0.5501 0.8209 0.2287 0.4771 0.3079 0.3297 0.3318 0.3737 0.7236 0.3142 0.5317 0.3616 0.4306 0.2222 0.5713 0.7899 0.4571 0.6609 0.4811 0.5492 0.3135 0.5509 0.7797 0.3861 0.5748 0.4269 0.4248 0.2419 0.3774 0.3430 0.8711 0.3664 0.4569 0.5399 0.2984 0.3831 0.2722 0.8897 0.2992 0.4226 0.5196 0.3139 0.3985 0.3426 0.8886 0.3247 0.4348 0.5385 0.2828 0.4979 0.3610 0.8302 0.3471 0.4344 0.5360 0.2489 0.3838 0.2329 0.8060 0.2324 0.4813 0.4377 0.1697 0.5378 0.4851 0.7124 0.4879 0.4296 0.4542 0.2294 0.4363 0.3280 0.7291 0.4072 0.4268 0.5259 0.2861 0.4621 0.3774 0.7491 0.3859 0.3846 0.3902 0.3204 0.5379 0.5279 0.4939 0.7202 0.4916 0.5696 0.1356 0.4302 0.4143 0.1578 0.7151 0.3134 0.3867 0.0851 0.5031 0.4298 0.2724 0.7092 0.3545 0.4426 0.1367 0.6203 0.4002 0.4578 0.7553 0.5441 0.6224 0.1331

NVG10 0.6067 0.6627 0.3947 0.8082 0.5190 0.5779 0.3015 NVG11 0.5201 0.5462 0.3035 0.7409 0.4622 0.5378 0.2736 NVG12 0.4876 0.4388 0.2152 0.7428 0.3748 0.4825 0.2232 Organization ORG1 0.6145 0.3234 0.4013 0.4090 0.7480 0.4292 0.2683

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EJISDC (2013) 58, 5, 1-21 ORG2 ORG3 ORG4 ORG5 ORG6 Security/privacy SCR1 SCR3 SCR4 SCR7 SCR9 SCR12 Website use USE1 USE2 USE3 USE5

11 0.4879 0.2379 0.3665 0.3839 0.7289 0.5558 0.4290 0.5440 0.4107 0.5032 0.5122 0.8282 0.6735 0.3293 0.5148 0.4307 0.4911 0.5317 0.8429 0.6676 0.3291 0.3968 0.3520 0.4428 0.4209 0.7668 0.5203 0.4219 0.5691 0.5670 0.3088 0.5467 0.7718 0.5989 0.4353 0.5007 0.4037 0.4026 0.4877 0.6805 0.7644 0.3662 0.5276 0.4624 0.5085 0.6322 0.5656 0.7721 0.2722 0.5407 0.4536 0.5079 0.6019 0.5700 0.7366 0.3044 0.4747 0.4132 0.4847 0.5023 0.5464 0.7925 0.4439 0.5586 0.5344 0.4574 0.6858 0.5262 0.8429 0.3755 0.3798 0.2156 0.5163 0.4480 0.5964 0.7825 0.3821 0.3826 0.3313 0.3798 0.3109 0.4359 0.4600 0.9027 0.3701 0.3248 0.3888 0.2722 0.4543 0.4339 0.8612 0.3031 0.2851 0.1954 0.2372 0.3709 0.3290 0.7252 0.1777 0.2163 0.0982 0.0902 0.3205 0.2792 0.7766

6.

FINDINGS

One of the greatest impacts of Islamic websites is their ability to provide unique features that influence Muslim users to engage in several Islamic activities online, such as reading Holy Quran, learning about Hadith, seeking scholars opinions and networking with other Muslims through chats, forums and discussion boards. The catalyst to this great impact is the ability to create Islamic websites with unique and appropriate design features, as these features can easily influence users to keep using Islamic websites. This paper empirically examines the features influencing the use of Islamic websites, and constructs a model for evaluating Islamic website use. The most important website design features that can influence the use of Islamic websites are categorized into the six major factors of attractiveness, functionality, interactivity, navigation, organization and security/privacy features. The result shows that all the design features explored in this study are statistically significant in the use of Islamic websites, except features related to the Islamic website interactivity factor. In addition, the findings show that Islamic website users are more concerned with the security/privacy of information than the aesthetic and functionality features. The overall findings on the hypothesis testing are shown in Figure 2 and summarized in Table 6. 6.1 Findings of the Research Model A PLS bootstrapping algorithm using 1000 resamples was run. The output shows the statistical significance of each factor relationship with the dependent contruct (i.e. website use) based on the path coefficients t-statistics (Chin, 1998; Hassanein and Head, 2007). The 1.96 t-statistics value threshold was used to either accept or reject the proposed hypotheses, as recommended by Gefen and Straub (2005).
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The R-square value (0.302) of the endogenous construct (website use) indicates that more than 30% of the total variance is explained, which is significant (exceeds 10% acceptable mark) as recommended by Falk and Miller (1992). The results are shown in Figure 2. Attractiveness Functionality Interactivity Navigation Organization Security/privacy Figure 2. Results of the Islamic Website Use Model The overall results show that the most important constructs in the use of Islamic websites are website attractiveness, fuctionality, navigation, organization, and security/privacy. Thus, Hypotheses H1, H2, H4, H5, and H6 are supported. However, the website interactivity construct is least important in the use of Islamic websites, and the results revealed that interactivity features does not influence users to use them. Therefore, H3 is not supported. This might be because of the presence of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, which provides much easier ways to interact and network with more people globally. The results are shown in Table 5. Table 5: Hypothesis Testing Results Hypothesis Path H1 H2 H3 H4 H5 H6 Coefficient SD 0.0375 0.0485 0.0345 0.0434 0.0354 0.0348 tResults statistics 2.319* 4.277** 0.173 7.074** 7.825** 8.956** Supported Supported Not supported Supported Supported Supported

t = 2.319 t = 4.277 t = 0.173 t = 7.074 t = 7.825 t = 8.956 R = 302 2.319 Islamic Website Use

Attractiveness Islamic 0.087 website use Functionality Islamic 0.208 website use Interactivity website use Navigation website use Islamic 0.006 Islamic 0.307

Organization Islamic 0.277 website use Security/privacy Islamic website use 0.311

* p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01.

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EJISDC (2013) 58, 5, 1-21 6.2 Website Attractiveness

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Hypothesis H1 is supported: Website attractiveness is positively associated with the use of Islamic websites at a confidence level of 0.05 ( = 0.087, t = 2.319, p < 0.05). Based on this empirical result, we argue that the aesthetic features of Islamic websites attract Muslims to visit those websites. This study found that the most important attractiveness design features associated with Islamic website use are: good use of icons, good use of fonts/size, good use of animation, good use of images, consistent page title, meaningful page title, good categorization of subjects, visually attractive screen layout, and adequate brightness of screen/pages. 6.3 Website Functionality Website functionality is positively related to the use of Islamic websites. The estimate is significant at a confidence level of 0.01 ( = 0.208, t = 4.277, p < 0.01). Thus, Hypothesis H2 is supported. This indicates that if website services are fast and support different platforms and browsers they will increase the use of Islamic websites. This study found that the most important functionality design features associated with Islamic website use are: quick homepage loading, good download speed, good overall structure, no downloading errors, website supports different browsers, and website supports different platforms. 6.4 Website Interactivity Website interactivity is not associated with the use of Islamic websites. Therefore, interactivity design features did not show significant positive association with the use of Islamic websites at the level of 0.05 ( = 0.006, t = 0.0345, p < 0.05). Thus, Hypothesis H3 is not supported. This study found that the most important interactivity design features that are not associated with Islamic website use are: test chat option, call chat option, video chat option, mailing list option, guest book option, 24x7 user support option, e-mail alert on current events/news updates, and help us/donate online option. Despite the individual importance of each of these interactivity design features, with their high item-loading above 0.70, we found that their association with Islamic website use is not significant. 6.5 Website Navigation Navigational features are positively associated with the use of Islamic websites. The relationship is significant at confidence level of 0.01 ( = 0.307, t = 7.074, p < 0.01). Thus, Hypothesis H4 is supported. This indicates easy movement from one webpage to another. This study found that the most important navigability design features associated with Islamic website use are: relevant hyperlinks, visible navigation button, easy to move from one page to another, easy to move through hyperlinks without being lost, easy menu structure, search engine availability, and easy information format. 6.6 Website Organization Website organizational information is positively associated with the use of Islamic websites. The relationship is significant at confidence level of 0.01 ( = 0.277, t = 7.825, p < 0.01). Thus, Hypothesis H5 is supported.

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This study found that the most important elements of organizational information associated with Islamic website use are: about us information, contact us details (i.e. names, address, phone numbers, and e-mail), partnership information, sponsorship information, country of origin information, and ownership information. 6.7 Website Security/Privacy Website security and the privacy of users personal data are important features for Islamic website use. Providing good security and privacy significantly influence use and online users will frequently use their website. This study found that security/privacy have a strong positive relationship with the use of Islamic website. The relationship is significant at confidence level of 0.01 ( = 0.311, t = 8.956, p < 0.01). Thus, Hypothesis H6 is supported. This indicates that security and privacy features are important to Islamic website use. This study found that the most important security/privacy information associated with Islamic website use is: certification information, recognized brand, trusted third party, terms of use information, spyware policy statement, and external recognition of website (e.g. site awards won). 7. CONCLUSIONS The growing number of Islamic websites and Muslim online users makes it necessary to understand the reasons why Muslims are adopting Islamic websites to learn about Islam as an alternative to the traditional face-to-face learning from scholars and books. As Table 2 revealed, many Muslims believed that Islamic websites provides rich Islamic information and references, some of which is not readily available in books. Curiosity is one of the major reasons why some Muslims visit Islamic websites for religious activities. Convenience and easy access to scholars from different parts of the world is another motivating factor, especially for Q&A and seeking for fatwas on personal matters. The most common online Islamic activities performed by Muslim users, in order of priority, are participating in Q&A/fatwas, information search, reading and learning Quran/Hadith, downloading audio/video lectures and sermons, participating in chat-rooms/blogs/forums, following current events, and news updates from the Muslim world. The development of websites by many Islamic organizations and individuals has made it important to investigate the features that influence their use. In todays cyber-Islamic environment, where Islamic websites make information available to anybody, anywhere, at any time, using appropriate interface design features to attract many users is critical. The impact of Islamic websites comes not from the technology alone, but also from the rich Islamic contents, credible online scholars, and how Muslim users are attracted to use the information provided to learn about Islam and Islamic practice. In order to create user confidence in a dynamic cyber-Islamic environment, website owners need to understand the nature of their users and which aspects of website design features are important to them. The findings of this study show that providing good functionality, detailed organizational information, and providing reliable security and privacy features are the most important factors influencing Islamic website use. The use of Islamic websites is increased because it improves information access, secrecy, and organizational trust. The findings suggest that providing secure and speedy access to information on different platforms/browsers is relatively more important than how the information is organized, navigated, or presented to the users, although all these features are important. However, website interactivity features did not specifically influence users to visit Islamic websites, despite the availability of text, call, and video chats, mailing lists, guest
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books, 24x7 user support options, e-mail alerts on current events/news updates, and online donation. This might be because they enjoy interacting with other people online through other social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) which provide more flexible and personalized options, as well as freedom to post personal opinions and critiques. The majority of the Islamic websites chat rooms and forums are controlled, monitored, restricted and moderated by the administrator. As such, the administrators create the thread topics or ask the users to send topics to them for verification before posting. In addition, some of the forums are restricted to only Muslims, female, or community users. Nevertheless visiting a website for religious purposes could encourage users to be patient, accommodating, and appreciate the effort of others. This study is one of the first to provide empirical evidence and a model for Islamic website use. The findings demonstrate that several design features influence Muslims to use Islamic websites to seek Islamic knowledge and practices online. This study is not without limitations. Firstly, due to the vast number of Islamic websites and lack of standardized categorization, we did not focus on any specific category. Muslim users may have different needs from Islamic websites. For example, some Muslim users may only be interested in Quranic websites, or Hadith websites, or Q&A/Fatwa websites, or blogs/forums, or simply the general information-based websites. It would be interesting for future research to examine the use of specific categories of Islamic websites by Muslim users. Secondly, this study was conducted with data collected online in Malaysia over two months. Further study is needed to test different locations, contexts and time periods in order to evaluate the validity of the model proposed and the findings. Thirdly, this study focused attention only on the design features of Islamic websites; future research may include content features as one of the dimensions of Islamic features. Also, there may be additional design features relevant to the use of Islamic websites (e.g. usability, accessibility, visibility, etc.) that may have a significant impact on their use. Despite the limitations of this study, it does provide valuable ground for future investigation. The research model and empirical results provide useful indicators for the direction of future research and also suggest guidelines for the successful development and adoption of Islamic websites by Muslim online users. In addition, this study contributes to the emerging body of research on Islamic website evaluation.

8.

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EJISDC (2013) 58, 5, 1-21 APPENDIX SUMMARY OF MAJOR DESIGN FEATURES EXPLORED RESEARCH ON ISLAMIC WEBSITES
IN

19 PREVIOUS

Table A1: Attractiveness Item Code Survey Items Good use of Icons ATR1 Good use of Fonts/Size ATR2 Good use of Colours ATR3 Good use of Animation ATR4 Balanced use of Multimedia ATR5 Good use of Images ATR6 Consistent page title ATR7 Meaningful page title ATR8 Homepage not overcrowded ATR9 Good categorization of subjects ATR10 Visible logo/brand ATR11 Use of meaningful logo ATR12 Use of background song ATR13 Use of side view ATR14 Use of 3D rotation ATR15 Use of Sharp displays ATR16 Visually attractive screen layout ATR17 Attractive screen background ATR18 Adequate brightness of screen/pages ATR19 Eye-catching homepage ATR20 Table A2: Functionality Item Code Survey Items Quick homepage loading FNT1 Good download speed FNT2 Good overall structure FNT3 No broken links FNT4 No downloading error FNT5 Advanced search option FNT6 Personalize settings option FNT7 Content management option FNT8 Website indicates loading/responding FNT9 time Website supports different browsers FNT10 Provides all the functions needed to FNT11 find information Website supports different platforms FNT12 Website is accessible FNT13 anytime/anywhere

Sources Developed from: Sutcliffe (2002), Daniels, (2004), Suleman (2005), Mahmud et al. (2010), Aliyu et al. (2010), Bakeri (2010)

Sources Developed from: Daniels (2004), Suleman (2005), Mahmud et al. (2010), Aliyu et al. (2010), Mahmud et al. (2011), Song & Zinkhan (2003), Loiacocno et al. (2002), DeLone & McLean (2003), Mich et al. (2003)

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EJISDC (2013) 58, 5, 1-21 Table A3: Interactivity Item Code Survey Items Q&A option ITR1 FAQ option ITR2 Newsgroup/bulletin board ITR3 Feedback/comments option ITR4 Newsletter subscription ITR5 Text Chat option ITR6 Call Chat option ITR7 Video Chat option ITR8 Forum/discussion board ITR9 Mailing list option ITR10 Guest book option ITR11 Email to a friend option ITR12 24x7 user support option ITR13 Webmaster email option ITR14 Bookmark/favorite option ITR15 Membership registration option ITR16 Email alert on current events/news updates ITR17 Link to other social media (e.g. Facebook, ITR18 Twitter) Link to Islamic Social Media ITR19 Help Us/Donate Online option ITR20 Table A4: Navigation Item Code Survey Items Sitemap option NVG1 Relevant hyperlinks NVG2 Easy return to homepage NVG3 Visible navigation button NVG4 Link to related website/articles NVG5 Fewer possible steps to find information NVG6 Easy to move from one page to another NVG7 Indication of users location within website NVG8 Easy to move with hyperlinks without NVG9 being lost Easy menu structure NVG10 Search engine available NVG11 Easy information format NVG12

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Sources Adapted from: Daniels (2004), Suleman (2005), Mahmud et al. (2010), Aliyu et al. (2010)

Sources Adapted from: Daniels (2004), Suleman (2005), Wan Abdul Rahim et al. (2008), Mahmud et al. (2010), Aliyu et al. (2010)

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EJISDC (2013) 58, 5, 1-21 Table A5: Organization Item Code Survey Items Sources Developed from: Daniels, About Us information ORG1 Contact Us details: names, address, phone (2004), Suleman (2005), ORG2 Mahmud et al. (2010), Aliyu numbers, email et al. (2010), Mahmud et al. Partnership information ORG3 (2011), Ranganathan and Sponsorship information ORG4 Ganapathy, (2002), Song & Country of origin information ORG5 Zinkhan, (2003) Ownership information ORG6 Organizational ethics information ORG7 Organizational history information ORG8 Website Reputation ORG9 Table A6: Security/Privacy Item Code Survey Items Seal of Approval SCR1 Recognized Brand SCR2 Trusted Third Party SCR3 Security Certification SCR4 Authority Endorsement SCR5 Term of Use Information SCR6 Privacy Policy Statement SCR7 Spyware Policy Statement SCR8 Affiliation Program Available SCR9 Overall, website is safe to use SCR10 External recognition of website (e.g. site SCR11 awards won) Certification information SCR12 Table A7: Islamic Website Use Item Code Survey Items I use Islamic websites frequently USE1 I spend a lot of time using Islamic websites USE2 I have been using Islamic websites for a USE3 very long time I am highly dependent on using Islamic USE4 websites to learn about Islam Overall, I have a good experience using USE5 Islamic websites

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Sources Developed from: Daniels, (2004), Suleman (2005), Mahmud et al. (2010), Aliyu et al. (2010), Ranganathan and Ganapathy (2002), Song & Zinkhan (2003)

Sources Adapted from: Kim, Oh, Shin & Chae (2009), DeLone & McLean (2003)

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