About Flowtheory.com

MSc Dissertation: An exploration of the importance of website usability from a business perspective

Executive Summary (excerpt)

"There has been a vast amount of academic research and work by practitioners on the
subject of website usability. This encompasses a diverse range of subjects from
accessibility through to providing the optimal user experience. This work covers
many disciplines from neuroscience (e.g. in the case of flow theory) to customer
relations management (CRM), marketing, graphic design, public relations and so on.
However, there appeared to be no existing work which summarised and evaluated
from a business perspective the various writings on the diverse aspects of usability
issues. The purpose of this report was to do just that and, having done so, to evaluate
how aware business managers were of the issues, and how effectively they were
working with their designers to create effective e-commerce websites..."

To read on...

Download the dissertation (PDF file 593KB)



Why FlowTheory.com?

The best laid plans...

Perhaps you're curious about how this website got its name. Well, initially my dissertation was going to be about Flow Theory - a concept introduced by Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced Chicksent-me-hiee) in the 1970s. There's been a lot of discussion in academic circles about "flow" since then. Basically flow is to do with intrinsic enjoyment, and it may be relevant to providing the optimal user experience.

I read up on the subject and registered FlowTheory.com intending to organise and store my work here. Then I started to wonder if flow really did exist. I wasn't convinced it did (and I'm still not). So it was back to the drawing board.

I decided to do something useful instead, like looking at web design and its importance to success in e-commerce ventures. But since I'd already got the website, I thought I might as well use it. (In any case, there is a fairly large section on flow within the thesis.)

Kay McMahon
MSc e-Business (with Distinction)
Robert Gordon University

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