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4, July 2010

**Specifying And Validating Quality Characteristics For Academic Web-sites – Indian Origin
**

Ritu Shrivastava

Department of Computer Science and Engineering Sagar Institute of Research Technology & Science Bhopal 462007, India

J. L. Rana

Retired Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology Bhopal 462002, India

M Kumar

Prof. & Dean, Department of Computer Science and Engineering Sagar Institute of Research & Technology Bhopal 462007, India Institute Web-sites (Indian Origin) from point of view of usability, and to theoretically validate the proposed model. II. LITRATURE SURVEY

Abstract— Every stakeholder of Academic Web-sites is mainly concerned with external quality, viz., usability, functionality, and reliability. Signore and Olsina have given hierarchical quality characteristics for measuring quality of Web-sites, especially for e-commerce and museum domains. In this paper, the authors have proposed a hierarchical model of attributes, sub-attributes, and metrics for measuring external quality of academic Websites – Indian origin. The theoretical validation of model has been carried out using distance measure construction method. The empirical validation is in progress and will be reported soon. Keywords-component; Web-site Quality, Academic domain, Hierarchical model, Attributes, Metrics

The quality of software being developed has always been prime concern of software engineers. Some widely used software quality models were proposed by Boehm et. al. [8], and McCall and Covano [9]. Complexity is probably the most important attribute of software because it influences a number of other attributes such as maintainability, understandability, modifiability, and testability. International bodies such as ISO and CEN(European) are trying to integrate different approaches to the definition of quality, starting from the awareness that the quality as an attribute which changes developer’s perspective and action context [10]. The ISO/IEC 9126 model [10] defines three views of quality: user’s view, developer’s view, and manager’s view. Users are interested in the quality in use (external quality attributes), while developers are interested in internal quality attributes such as maintainability, portability, etc.. This model is hierarchical and contains six major quality attributes each very broad in nature. They are subdivided into 27 sub-attributes that contribute to external quality and 21 sub-attributes that contribute to internal quality. The users are interested in external quality, viz., usability, functionality, reliability, and efficiency of Web-sites. These attributes and sub-attributes in ISO 9126 are of very general in nature and can be applied to Web-sites as well. Olsina et. al.[5,6] have proposed hierarchical model of attributes, sub-attributes and metric for Web-sites of museum and e-commerce domains. They have also developed a technique called QEM to measure quality of these sites [5]. Tripathi and Kumar [7] have identified attributes, sub-attributes and metrics for Indian origin e-commerce Web-sites. They have validated the proposed quality characteristic model both theoretically and empirically [11]. In this research we are

I.

INTRODUCTION

World Wide Web (WWW) has been the fasted adopted technology. Every day many new Web-sites are uploaded on Web. Often quality of Web-sites is unsatisfactory and basic Web principles like inter-portability and accessibility are ignored [1,2]. The main reason for lack of quality is unavailability of trained staff in Web technologies/engineering and orientation of Web towards a more complex XML based architecture [1,2,3]. Web-sites can be categorized as informative or cultural, ecommerce, e-government, museums, tourism, and academic intensive. It is obvious that domains differ significantly, and hence a common yardstick can not be applied to measure quality of all Web-sites. Loranca et. al. [4] and Olsina et. al. [5] have identified attributes, sub-attributes, and metrics for ecommerce based Web-sites. Olsina et. al. [6] have also specified metrics for Web-sites of museums. Tripathi and Kumar [7] have specified quality characteristics for ecommerce based Web-sites of Indian origin from external point of view. The aim of this research is to identify attributes, subattributes, and metrics for measuring quality of Academic

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proposing a hierarchical model of attributes and sub-attributes to measure quality of academic institute Web-sites of Indian origin. The model is also theoretically validated. III.

PROPOSED QUALITY CHARACTERISTICS MODEL

It is necessary that any new model of attributes, subattributes and metrics is properly validated before it is put to use by professionals and academia. The process of validation is described in the next section. IV. THEORETICAL VALIDATION OF PROPOSED HIERARCHICAL MODEL OF METRICS Recent software engineering literature has shown a concern for the quality of methods to validate software product metrics (e.g., see [12][13][14]). This concern is due to fact that: (i) common practices for the validation of software engineering metrics are not acceptable on scientific grounds, and (ii) valid measures are essential for effective software project management and sound empirical research. According to Kitchenham et al. [13] "unless the software measurement community can agree on a valid, consistent, and comprehensive theory of measurement validation, we have no scientific basis for the discipline of software measurement, a situation potentially disastrous for both practice and research." Therefore, to have confidence in the utility of the many metrics those are proposed from research labs, it is crucial that they are validated.

2.3. Student-Oriented Features 2.3.1 Academic Infrastructure Information 2.3.1.1 Library Information 2.3.1.2 Laboratory Information 2.3.1.3 Research Facility Information 2.3.1.4 Central Computing Facility Information 2.3.2 Student Service Information 2.3.2.1 Hostel Facility Information 2.3.2.2 Sport Facilities 2.3.2.3 Canteen Facility Information 2.3.2.4 Scholarship Information 2.3.2.5 Doctor/Medical Facility Information 2.3.3 Academic Information 2.3.3.1 Courses Offered Information 2.3.3.2 Academic Unit (Department) Information 2.3.3.3 Academic Unit t Site Map 2.3.3.4 Syllabus Information 2.3.3.5 Syllabus Search 2.3.4 Enrollment Information 2.3.4.1 Notification uploaded 2.3.4.2 Form Fill/Download 2.3.5 Online Services 2.3.5.1 Grade/ Result Information 2.3.5.2 Fee dues/Deposit Information 2.3.5.3 News Group Services 3

In fact, software artifacts are generally produced to satisfy specific user’s need, and Web-sites are no exception. In designing Web-sites care should be taken that a user entering for the first time at a given home page should be able to find a piece of information quickly. For this, there are attributes like site map, an index, or a table of contents that help in getting quick global site understanding that facilitates browsing. Alternatively, a global searching function on the home page could help retrieving required piece of information and avoid browsing. The site understandability increases if both the functions are included. The main attributes that enhance the Web-site external quality are usability, functionality, and reliability. A quality attribute can be decomposed into multiple levels of sub-attributes and finally a sub-attribute can be refined in a set of measurable attributes or metrics. The proposed hierarchical model of metrics to measure external quality of academic Web-sites is given in Fig. 1.

The validation of software product metrics means

1

Usability 1.1. Global Site understandability 1.1.1 Site Map(location map) 1.1.2 Table of Content 1.1.3 Alphabetical Index 1.1.4 Campus Image Map 1.1.5 Guided Tour 1.2. On-line Feedback and Help Features 1.2.1 Student Oriented Help 1.2.2 Search Help 1.2.3 Web-site last Update Indicator 1.2.4 E-mail Directory 1.2.5 Phone Directory 1.2.6 FAQ 1.2.7 On-line Feedback in form of Questionnaire 1.3. Interface and Aesthetic Features 1.3.1 Link Color Style Uniformity 1.3.2 Global Style Uniformity 1.3.3 What is New Feature 1.3.4 Grouping of Main Control Objects Functionality 2.1. Search Mechanism 2.1.1 People Search 2.1.2 Course Search 2.1.3 Academic Department Search 2.1.4 Global Search 2.2. Navigation and Browsing 2.2.1 Path Indicator 2.2.2 Current Position Indicator 2.2.3 Average Links Per Page 2.2.4 Vertical Scrolling 2.2.5 Horizontal Scrolling

2

Reliability 3.1. Link and Other Errors 3.1.1 Dangling Links 3.1.2 Invalid Links 3.1.3 Unimplemented Links 3.1.4 Browser Difference Error 3.1.5 Unexpected Under Construction Pages 4 Efficiency 4.1 Performance 4.1.1 Matching of Link Title and Page Information 4.1.2 Support for Text only Version 4.1.3 Global Readability 4.1.4 Multilingual Support

Fig. 1 Quality Characteristics For Academic Institute Web-sites

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convincingly demonstrating that : 1. The product metrics measures what it purports to measure. For example, that a coupling metrics really measures coupling. 2. The product metric is associated with some important external metric (such as measures of maintainability or reliability). 3. The product metric is an improvement over existing product metrics. An improvement can mean, for example, that it is easier to collect the metric or that it is a better predictor of faults. According to Fenton [15], there are two types of validation that are recognized: internal and external. Internal validation is a theoretical exercise that ensures that the metric is a proper numerical characterization of the property it claims to measure. Demonstrating that a metric measures what it purports to measure is a form of theoretical validation. External validation involves empirically demonstrating points (2) and (3) above. Internal and external validations are also commonly referred to as theoretical and empirical validation respectively [13]. Both types of validation are necessary. The approaches used in two validations are shown in Figure 2. METRIC DEFINITION

Weyuker and Braind et al.[19] For the theoretical validation DISTANCE framework proposed by Poels and Dedene[18], is a conceptual framework for software metric validation grounded in measurement theory. This is briefly described below : A. The DISTANCE Measure Construction Procedure The measure construction procedure prescribes five activities. The procedure is triggered by a request to construct a measure for a property that characterizes the element of some set of objects. The activities of the DISTANCE procedure are given here. For notational convenience, let P be a set of objects that are characterized by some property pty for which a measure needs to be constructed. 1) Finding a measurement abstraction: The object of interest must be modeled in such a way that the property for which a measure is needed is emphasized. A suitable representation, called measurement abstraction hereafter, should allow to what extent an object is characterized by the property to be observed. By comparing measurement abstraction we should be able to tell whether an object is more, equally or less characterized by the property than other object. 2) Defining distance between measurement abstraction: This activity is based on a generic definition of distance that hold for elements in a set. To define distance between elements in a set, the concept of ‘elementary transformation function’ is used. 3) Quantifying distance betweenmeasurement abstraction: This activity requires the definition of a distance measure for the element of M. Basically this means that the distance defined in the previous activity are now quantified by representing i.e. measuring them as the number of elementary transformation by representing i.e. measuring them as the number of elementary transformations in the shortest sequence of elementary transformation between elements. Formally, the activity results in the definition of a metric MxM→R that can be used to map the distance between a pair of elements in M to a real number. 4) Finding a reference abstraction: This activity require a kind of thought experiment. We need to determine what the measurement abstraction for the object in P would look like if they were characterized by the theoretical lowest amount pty. If such a hypothetical measurement abstraction can be found, then this object is called the reference abstraction for P with respect to pty. 5) Defining a measure for the property: The final activity consists of defining a measure for pty. Since properties are formally defined as distances, and these distances are quantified with a metric function, the formal outcome of this activity is the definition of a function μ:P→R such that p Є P: μ(p)= δ(abs(p), ref(p)). B. Metric Validation

THEORETICAL VALIDATION

Property Based Approach Measureme nt Theory based

EMPIRICAL VALIDATION

Experi ments Case Stud ies Surv eys

Fig. 2 Approaches to Software Metrics Validation The main goal of theoretical validation is to assess whether a metric actually measures what it purports to measure [15]. In the context of an empirical study, the theoretical validation of metrics establishes their construct validity, i.e. it ‘proves’ that they are valid measures for the constructs that are used as variables in the study. There is not yet a standard, accepted way of theoretically validating software metric. Work on theoretical validation has followed two paths (see Fig 2), viz. • Measurment-theory based approach such as those proposed by Whitmire[16], Zuse[17], and Poels and Dedene [18] Property-based approach axiomatic approaches), such as (also called proposed by

•

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The proposed hierarchical model of metrics given in Fig 2 is validated using Distance methodology. We have used the five activities of DISTANCE measure procedure for metrics of the model and important metrics are summarized in Table 1

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**TABLE I. DISTANCE BASED VALIDATION CRITERIA FOR METRICS
**

Quality Metrics Measurement Abstraction 1.1.1 1.1.2 1.1.3 1.1.4 1.1.5 1.2.1 1.2.2 1.2.3 1.2.4 Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Ordinal Ordinal Ordinal Nominal Ordinal Ordinal Nominal Ordinal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Ordinal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Defining distance between two extreme abstraction Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Complete/Partial/No Complete/Partial/No Exhaustive/Partial/No Yes/No Uniform/Partial/No Uniform/Partial/No Yes/No Complete/Partial/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Good/Average/Bad Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Validation Quantifying distance e in extremes EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0.5,0} EQ = {1,0.5,0} EQ = {1,0.5,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0.5,0} EQ = {1,0.5,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0.5,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0.5,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} Hypothetical reference abstraction EQ=0, if no map EQ=0, if no table EQ=0, if no alphabetic index EQ=0, if no image map EQ=0, if no guided tour EQ=0, if no student oriented help EQ=0, if no search help EQ=0, if no update indicator EQ=0, if no email directory EQ=0, if no phone directory EQ=0, if no FAQ EQ = 0, if no feedback EQ=0, if no link color style EQ=0, if no global style uniformity EQ=0, if no new feature EQ=0, if no grouping of objects EQ=0, if no people search EQ=0, if no course search EQ=0, if no department search EQ=0, if no global search EQ = 0, if no path indicator EQ = 0, if no current position EQ = 0, if no average link per page EQ = 0, if no vertical scrolling EQ = 0, if no horizontal scrolling EQ = 0, if no library info EQ = 0, if no laboratory info EQ = 0, if no research facility EQ = 0, if no central computing facility EQ = 0, if no hostel facility info EQ = 0, if no sports Determining a measure ptv EQ=1, if map available EQ=1, if table available EQ=1, if alphabetic index available EQ=1, if image map available EQ=1, if guided tour available EQ=1, if student oriented help available EQ=1, if search help available EQ=1, if update indicator available EQ=1, if complete email directory available EQ=1, if complete phone directory available EQ=1, if exhaustive FAQs available EQ=1, if feedback available available EQ=1, if uniform link color style available EQ=1, if global style uniformity available EQ=1, if new feature available EQ=1, if complete grouping of objects EQ=1, if people search available EQ=1, if course search available EQ=1, if department search available EQ=1, if global search available EQ=1, if path indicator available EQ=1, if current position available EQ=1, if average link per page 6 or more EQ=1, if vertical scrolling available EQ=1, if horizontal scrolling available EQ=1, if library Info available EQ=1, if laboratory Info available EQ=1, if research facility available EQ=1, if central computing facility available EQ=1, if hostel facility info available EQ=1, if sports facility

Usability

1.2.5 1.2.6 1.2.7 1.3.1 1.3.2 1.3.3 1.3.4 2.1.1 2.1.2

Functionality

2.1.3 2.1.4

Functionality

2.2.1 2.2.2 2.2.3 2.2.4 2.2.5 2.3.1.1 2.3.1.2 2.3.1.3 2.3.1.4 2.3.2.1 2.3.2.2

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Quality Metrics Measurement Abstraction 2.3.2.3 2.3.2.4 2.3.2.5 2.3.3.1 2.3.3.2 2.3.3.3 2.3.3.4 2.3.3.5 2.3.4.1 2.3.4.2 Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Nominal Defining distance between two extreme abstraction Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Validation Quantifying distance e in extremes EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} Hypothetical reference abstraction facility info EQ = 0, if no canteen facility info EQ = 0, if no scholarship info EQ = 0, if no medical facility info EQ = 0, if no courses offered info EQ = 0, if no department info EQ = 0, if no Dept. site map EQ = 0, if no syllabus info EQ = 0, if no syllabus search EQ = 0, if no notifications EQ = 0, if no form download EQ = 0, if no result info EQ = 0, if no fee dues info EQ = 0, if no news group EQ = 0, if no dangling link EQ = 0, if invalid links 6 or more EQ = 0 if unimplemented link 6 or more EQ = 0, if no browser difference EQ = 0 if unconstructed pages 6 or more EQ = 0 if unmatching link 6 or more EQ = 0, if no support EQ = 0 if no global reliability EQ = 0, if no multilingual support Determining a measure ptv info available EQ=1, if canteen facility info available EQ=1, if scholarship info available EQ=1, if medical facility info available EQ=1, if courses offered info available EQ=1, if department info available EQ=1, if Dept. site map available EQ=1, if syllabus info available EQ=1, if syllabus search available EQ=1, if notifications available EQ=1, if form download available EQ=1, if all sem result info available EQ=1, if full fee dues info available EQ=1, if news group available EQ=1, if dangling link available EQ=1, if invalid links bet 0-2 EQ=1, if unimplemented links bet 0-2 EQ=1, if browser difference available EQ=1, if unconstructed bet 0-2 EQ=1, if unmatching link bet 0-2 EQ=1, if support for text only version EQ=6, if global reliability good EQ=1, if multilingual support available

2.3.5.1

Ordinal Ordinal Nominal Nominal Ordinal Ordinal Nominal Ordinal Ordinal Nominal Nominal Nominal

Complete/Partial/No Complete/Partial/No Yes/No Yes/No High /Medium/ Low High /Medium/ Low Yes/No High /Medium/ Low High /Medium/ Low Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No

EQ = {1,0.5,0} EQ = {1,0.5,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ={1, if bet 02; 0.5, if bet 3-5; 0, if 6 or more} EQ={1, if bet 02; 0.5, if bet 3-5; 0, if 6 or more} EQ = {1,0} EQ={between 02, 3-5, 6 or more} EQ={between 02, 3-5, 6 or more} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0} EQ = {1,0}

Functionality

2.3.5.2 2.3.5.3 3.1.1 3.1.2 3.1.3

Reliability

3.1.4 3.1.5 4.1.1 4.1.2

Efficiency

4.1.3 4.1.4

V.

CONCLUSION

VI.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

We have proposed a hierarchical model of attributes, subattributes, and metrics for measuring quality of Indian origin academic Web-sites from the point of view of usability, which is of major concern to users (stake holders). The proposed metrics are theoretically validated using distance measure construction procedure and results are shown in the Table 1. The empirical validation is in progress and will be reported soon.

Authors sincerely thank Dr R. K. Pandey, Director, Institute of Technology, Barkatullah University, Bhopal for his constant support and expert guidance during preparation of this paper.

REFRENCES [1] O. Signore , “ Towards a quality model for Web-sites” , CMG Poland Annual Conference, Warsaw, 9-10 May, 2005, http://www.w3c.it/papers/cmg2005Poland-quality.pdf.

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[2] [3] J. Offutt , “ Quality attributes of Web software applications” , IEEE Software, March/April, pp25-32, 2002. O. Signore, et. al. , “Web accessibility principles” , International Context and Italian Regulations”, EuroCMG, Vienna, 19-21 Sept. 2004, http://www.w3c.it/paperseurocmg2004.pdf. M. B. Loranca, J. E.Espinosa, et. al. , “Study for classification of quality attributees in Argentinean E-commmerce sites” , Proc. 16th IEEE Itern. Conf. on Electronics Communication & Computers 2006. L. Olsina and G. Rossi, “Measuring Web application quality with WebQEM” , IEEE Multimedia, pp 20-29. Oct-Dec 2002. L. Olsina , “Website quality evaluation method : A case study of Museums”, 2nd workshop on Software Engineering over Iternet, ICSE 1999. P. Tripathi, M. Kumar ,” Some observations on quality models for Web-applications” , Proc. of Intern Conf on Web Engineering and Applications, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, India, 23-24 Dec 2006 (Proc Published by Macmillan 2006). B. Boehm, J. Brown, M. Lipow, “Quantitative evaluation of software quality process” , Intern. Conference on Software Engineering, IEEE Computer Society Press, pp 592-605, 1976. J. Covano, J. McCall , “A framework for measurement of software quality “ , Proc. ACM Software Quality Assurance Workshop, pp133-139, 1978. ISO/IEC 9126-1 : Software Engineering – Product Quality Part 1 : Quality Model(2000) : http://www.usabilitynet .org/tools/international.html#9126-1. P. Tripathi , M. Kumar and N. Shrivastava, “ Ranking of Indian Ecommerce Web-applications by measuring quality factors “ , Proc of 9th ACIS Itern Conf on Software Engineering, AI, Networking and Parallel/Distributed Computing, Hilton Phulket, Thailand, Aug 6-8, 2008. Proc Published by IEEE Comp. Soc. V. Fenton, B. Kitchenham, “Validating software measures”, Journal of Software Testing, Verification and Reliability, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 27-42, 1990. B. Kitchenham, S-L Pfleeger, and N. Fenton, "Towards a framework for software measurement validation” , IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol 21, no. 12, pp. 929-944, 1995. N. Schneidewind, "Methodology for validating software metrics," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 18, no. 5, pp. 410-422, 1992. N.Fenton, "Software metrics: theory, tools and validation, "SoftwareEngineering Journal, pp. 65-78, January, 1990. J. Whitmire, “Correctly assigning the “ilities” requires more than marketing hype”, IT Professional , vol 2, no 6, pp 65-67, 2000. H. Zuse, A framework of software measurement , Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 1998. G. Poels and G. Dedene, “Distance-based software measurement: necessary & sufficient properties for software measures “, Information and Software Technology, vol 42, no 1, pp 35-46, 2000 L. Briand, S. Morasca and V. Basili, “An operational process for goal- driven definition of measures”,. IEEE Transaction on Software Engineering , vol 30, no 2, pp 120-140, 2002. AUTHORS PROFILE

[4]

Dr J. L. Rana is retired professor of Computer Science & Engineering. He has 42 years experience of teaching and research. He has guided 6 candidates for Ph. D. degree and 2 are working under his guidance. His current research interests are Ad hoc Mobile Networks, Software Engineering. e-mail jlrana@yahoo.com

[5] [6]

[7]

[8]

[9]

[10]

Dr Mahendra Kumar is presently Prof. & Dean of Computer Science at S.I.R.T. , Bhopal. He was Professor and Head Computer applications at M.A.N.I.T., Bhopal. He has 42 years of teaching and research experience. He has published more than 90 papers in National and International journals. He has written two books and guided 12 candidates for Ph. D. degree and 3 more are currently working. His research interests are Software Engineering, Cross Language Information Retrieval, Text Mining, and Knowledge Management. e-mail prof.mkumar@gmail.com

[11]

[12]

[13]

[14]

[15] [16] [17] [18]

[19]

Ritu Shrivastava has taught computer science to graduate students for 17 yrs in institutions like MANIT, Bhopal, Amity University, Delhi. She is actively involved in research in the field of object-oriented software engineering/technology. e-mail ritushrivastava08@gmail.com

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Every stakeholder of Academic Web-sites is mainly concerned with external quality, viz., usability, functionality, and reliability. Signore and Olsina have given hierarchical quality characteristic...

Every stakeholder of Academic Web-sites is mainly concerned with external quality, viz., usability, functionality, and reliability. Signore and Olsina have given hierarchical quality characteristics for measuring quality of Web-sites, especially for e-commerce and museum domains. In this paper, the authors have proposed a hierarchical model of attributes, sub-attributes, and metrics for measuring external quality of academic Websites – Indian origin. The theoretical validation of model has been carried out using distance measure construction method. The empirical validation is in progress and will be reported soon.

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