Factors influencing user acceptance of online encyclopaedias in the arts and humanities
Sosibo, Samantha Nokuthula
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This study aimed to explore user factors that may influence attitude and behaviour where technology acceptance is concerned. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) Framework was used as a tool to map this degree of acceptance in relation to the design of the current Encyclopaedia of South African Arts, Culture and Heritage (ESAACH). ESAACH is an encyclopaedia intended to address the dearth of reference material in South African arts, culture and heritage studies (ESAACH.org.za). The encyclopaedia is divided into broader areas of research such as: verbal arts, performing arts, visual arts, and heritage. It was originally established as a tool to provide support for education in arts, culture and heritage. There has been an increase in interest in the ESAACH online resource platform. This has resulted in the need to capture user perceptions and attitudes on the site in order to provide guidelines on the improvement of the site and to make usage of the encyclopaedia easier and less frustrating. The researcher investigates English Language Proficiency, Perceived Ease of Use and Perceived Usefulness and Computer Self-Efficacy as factors that influence an online user’s attitude towards intention to use and acceptance of an online encyclopaedia. There have been concerns expressed by website designers that because users may not be fully acquainted or familiar with using the Internet in general when accessing information, they anticipate some resistance or reluctance to make full use of available online content. The study included the administration of an online survey to a sample of 149 students from the Arts and Design and Library Information Studies departments whereby their demographics, antecedents and precedent constructs of the TAM were tested for co-relationships of user’s intention regarding usage and acceptance of the website. The TAM model was used as a tool to determine: whether a positive confidence in the students’ English language proficiency would affect intention to use the encyclopaedia and to predict whether positive Computer Self-Efficacy is an indicator for a positive effect regarding Ease of Use and/or Perceived Usefulness. Results confirmed that users perceived Computer Self-Efficacy as a positive contributor to the usefulness of the ESAACH online encyclopaedia. Although no significant relationship between English Language Proficiency and Perceived Ease of Use was demonstrated, the need for a design which caters for sensitivity to the language of users was identified.