Information architecture of business-to-consumer e-commerce websites

This article in the Journal of Information Science (not available online) looks at information organization of B2C catalogues for retail video sellers and assesses their usefulness from an LIS perspective. Spiteri, Louise R. "Information architecture of business-to-consumer e-commerce websites. Part I: The online catalogue of selected video retailers". Journal of Information Science, v27n4, 2001, p239-248. Recent surveys of business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce websites indicate that these sites lack well-designed online catalogues necessary to enable consumers to locate easily what they want to find. This paper examines how online vendors organize their catalogues and how this organization could affect the consumers' ability to find the information necessary to make an informed purchase. The contents of the catalogues of 50 B2C video websites were evaluated against fifteen criteria derived from the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. Results indicate that, on average, the catalogues meet only 8.8 of the fifteen criteria and thus fail to provide consumers with sufficient information needed to make a fully informed and rational purchasing decision. The only elements of information the consumer can be assured of finding are the title and purchase price of the videos.