Journal of Information Technology

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 1–26 | Cite as

Return visits: a review of how Web site design can engender visitor loyalty

Research Article


Both the use of Web sites and the empirical knowledge as to what constitutes effective Web site design has grown exponentially in recent years. The aim of the current article is to outline the history and key elements of Web site design in an e-commerce context – primarily in the period 2002–2012. It was in 2002 that a Special Issue of ISR was focused on ‘Measuring e-Commerce in Net-Enabled Organizations.’ Before this, work was conducted on Web site design, but much of it was anecdotal. Systematic, empirical research and modeling of Web site design to dependent variables like trust, satisfaction, and loyalty until then had not receive substantial focus – at least in the information systems domain. In addition to an overview of empirical findings, this article has a practical focus on what designers must know about Web site elements if they are to provide compelling user experiences, taking into account the site’s likely users. To this end, the article elaborates components of effective Web site design, user characteristics, and the online context that impact Web usage and acceptance, and design issues as they are relevant to diverse users including those in global markets. Web site elements that result in positive business impact are articulated. This retrospective on Web site design concludes with an overview of future research directions and current developments.


Web site design user characteristics user content Web site localization 


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Copyright information

© Association for Information Technology Trust 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser UniversitySurreyCanada

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