Predicting User Acceptance

Technology AcceptanceImage Source:

I‘ve been asked to help a friend with the design of a portal.

Not just any type of portal, but one that will provide an alternative to using the standard “thick client”.

So, I started thinking about what I can do to really “sell” the portal to the users. What will make them WANT to use it, instead of the client that they are already familiar with.

While doing some research, I read about TAM.

The TAM is short for “Technology Acceptance Model“. It is a model that proposes that application usage and adoption can be predicted based upon two factors.

Here is what the basic TAM looks like:

TAM User acceptance Technology Acceptance Model Percieved Usefulness Ease

So let’s look at it closer:

Perceived Usefulness can be defined as “the degree of which a person believes that using a particular system would enhance his or her job performance“.

Perceived Ease of Use as “the degree of which a person believes that using a particular system would be free of effort“.

These, together, influence the attitude of a user to a system, which in turn determines behavioral intentions and leads to actual system use.

So – what did I think of this when I first saw it? I thought “Duh!! That’s obvious.”

But then,as I though about it more, I realized that it IS obvious – if a user thinks something is going to make their job easier, AND they think that it will be effortless (not having to learn a new system, etc), then, of course, they are more willing to use it.

Now, the title of this post is “Predicting User Acceptance”. Because this is a model, lots of different values can be matched to each of the parts of the model, so that the outcome gives a mathematical value for the user acceptance.  That’s definitely gives something measurable. There are, in fact, a couple of documented examples where the TAM has been used to predict intranet/portal usage. I want to go into these in a future post.

Till then, the simplicity of the TAM has helped crystallize, for me, the real essence of user acceptance:

  • “Will this make my job/life easier?”
  • “Does it require effort to use?”

Read my following related posts:

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    1. Nancie 17/09/2011
      • markjowen 17/09/2011

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