Research Output
Web engineering for the evaluation of large complex web systems: methodologies in web metrics
  Roaming the Internet, users sometimes encounter severe problems or feel dissatisfied using a particular site. E-government websites are the public gateways to access information and services but there is still no agreement on how to assess a government’s online presence. Failure of e-government projects in achieving their goals is common and there is uncertainty about how best to evaluate an e-government website. It has been argued that existing evaluation frameworks have some methodological limitations and they mostly neglected citizens. There is a lack of an engineering approach for building web systems and the literature on measuring the quality of website is limited. There is an uncertainty in the selection of evaluation methods and some risks of standardizing inadequate evaluation practices. Managing the complexity of web applications, Web Engineering is emerging as a new discipline for the development and evaluation of web systems to promote high-quality websites. But web quality is still a debatable issue and web metrics is considered a valuable area of ongoing research. Therefore this research focuses on the methodological issues underlying web metrics and how to develop an applicable set of measurement for designing websites. The main aim is to create new metrics for web engineering and develop a generalizable measurement framework for local e-government since research in this field is limited. This study adopted a positivist quantitative research and used triangulation web evaluation methods (heuristic evaluation, user testing, automatic link checkers, and Alexa) to test multiple-case study of Saudi city websites. The proposed E-City Usability Framework is unique in integrating 3-dimension measures (website usability, e-services, and the number and type of e-services), and in using multi-orientations to cover several aspects of e-government: output (information and services), outcomes (citizen-centricity indicators), model, and model-based assessments.
Existing e-government models were criticized, and the findings employed in developing the proposed framework. The best web evaluation methods were heuristic evaluation and user testing, while link checkers and Alexa proved to be unreliable tools; nevertheless, they can be used as a useful complementary approach. Saudi city websites were ranked by website quality, e-services, and overall evaluation. Common usability problems in these websites were found to be: the sites were not citizen-centered, limited e-services and information, no e-transaction, no emergency alerts, no municipal budget, and no city council reports. They also suffered from broken links, an inactive city map, a poor eComplaint section, and a nonfunctioning search facility.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 August 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    005 Computer programming, programs & data

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Zahran, D. I. Web engineering for the evaluation of large complex web systems: methodologies in web metrics. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



Internet, e-government, e-services, website usability.

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