The provision of tools to focus user interaction in analysing data to come to a decision is the core principle of a decision supporting system. This became the inherent characteristic of decision support systems to counter the cognitive overload issues associated with management information systems arising from their proficiency in gathering and collating into larger and larger reports. A similar issue arises in online shopping systems where increased catalogues become less useful without an ability to use that data to decide upon a purchase. With this in mind we argue that it is necessary now to investigate the optimum decision support tools which may be provided in online shopping systems in order to clarify for the management of these systems how best to help customers analyse and synthesise product data to form a purchase decision. In this paper we propose to investigate the methods of supporting the consumer decision by experiment and survey manipulating the methods of decision support provided and measuring the effects on the consumer decision process. This research in progress outlines the extant theories of consumer decision formation, appropriateness of strategies and the validity of supporting particular strategies. We submit that particular analyses methods should be employed and outline a laboratory experiment which we have designed to test the hypotheses formed.
Sharkey, U., Acton, T. and Conboy, K. (2009) Modelling the Effects of Decision Tools in Online Shopping, 22nd Bled eConference, Bled, Slovenia, June 14th - 17th.