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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:
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:
- Applying (loosely) the Technology Adoption Model to a Real-Life situation
- The “Model Office” and improving user acceptance
- The Use of Collaborative Software in Virtual Teams
Want to learn more?
Below is a selection of resources that I personally feel are relevant to this blog post, and will allow you to get more in-depth knowledge. I do earn a commission if you purchase any of these, and for that I am grateful. Thank you. (Important Disclosure)
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Great blog – do you plan on providing any detailed steps or something like the definitive “guide to applying the TAM” – it is an incredible model but surprisingly many (IT) people don’t know about it or how to apply it as it does involve some very sophisticated stats. Do you have plans to cover it in greater detail! Thanks – Nancie
I am thrilled to hear that you like it. Thank you.
I find the whole idea that someone has created a model that explains what may seem obvious very exciting.
Regarding detailed steps…well…it isn’t really that clear-cut. There are no “follow these steps” instructions. The main thing is that the easier technology is to use, and the more useful it is perceived to be the, the better it will be accepted by users.
In most of the scenarios I have seen, this premise was the driver behind the design of, or the delivery of, technology, and then statistical analysis was done using the TAM model to confirm whether the design, or choices made, were still in line with that model.
One excellent study that I did come across involved the use of collaborative software in virtual teams. In this situation a well-crafted series of questions was put to people who have worked in virtual teams. From the answers, the researcher was able to apply statistical analysis to prove the TAM model and then draw conclusions from that. (You can read about that in one of my other posts “The use of Collaborative Software in Virtual Teams”
To use a quote from the original research paper (and is also used in the post mentioned above”
Again – thanks for your comment. I am certainly still looking for excellent “TAM” material and will post it when I do