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The impact of cultural context on web design for e-Government in South Africa

The role and power of ICT today, particularly the Internet, cannot be underestimated. The Internet has a great impact on the business environment, where a large majority of companies and organisations have made substantial investments in an online presence in the form of websites, as well as the IT infrastructure needed to improve business processes. In terms of websites, research has shown that it is critical to identify the target market of the site and the actual users, and to construct the site according to their specific needs and preferences. This is to a large extent the focus of the field of Human Computer Interaction. It therefore makes perfect sense that many software products and websites fail to meet the users‟ needs, as they are designed mainly by Western designers for Eastern and African users. In essence, the failure is due to the fact that the design does not accommodate the cultural behaviours, understandings and preferences of the intended users, thus making it difficult for them to use and adopt them. This has been confirmed by many researchers who have studied various culture dimensions and their relation to Web design. As mentioned, the role of the Internet in terms of its effect in the business world is becoming increasingly important. However, the Internet could prove to play an influential role in the public sector as well and could therefore be used as a critical tool by government in the form of e-Government. Many countries are adopting e-Government initiatives in an attempt to improve their relations within government itself and with their citizens and businesses. This would help them to render better service delivery and at the same time empower the citizens to also participate in the governance of the country itself. The concept for this dissertation was formulated in terms of three key ingredients: e-Government, culture dimensions and Web design. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the way a specific culture dimension, referred to as the cultural-context dimension, which focuses on the communication process, can impact in Web design. Once this is achieved, it will be possible to determine how this can positively affect the design of the South African e-Government website so that the overall usability of the site may be improved. The improvements will be justified because the site would then match the cultural behaviours, perceptions and Web design preferences of South African users. In short, the goal of this III dissertation is to provide guidelines and recommendations that will improve the South African e-Government website ( by examining anthropologist Edward Hall‟s cultural-context dimension and its role in the Web design process.
Date January 2008
CreatorsYeratziotis, Alexandros
PublisherNelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment and Information Technology
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeThesis, Masters, MTech
Formatxviii, 348 leaves, pdf
RightsNelson Mandela Metropolitan University

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