Usability/user testing Representative users are observed performing representative tasks using a system.

Usenet newsgroup An electronic bulletin board used to discuss a particular topic such as a sport, hobby or business area. Traditionally accessed by special newsreader software, these can now be accessed via a web browser from www.deja.com. User-centred design Design based on optimising the user experience according to all factors, including the user interface, which affect this. User journey See Customer scenarios.

User session Used to specify the frequency of visits to a site. Not equivalent to site visit.

Validation Validation services test for errors in HTML code which may cause a web page to be displayed incorrectly or for links to other pages that do not work.

Value chain A model that considers how supply chain activities can add value to products and services delivered to the customer.

Value network The links between an organisation and its strategic and non-strategic partners that form its external value chain.

Value proposition of site The benefits or value of a web site that are evident to its users.

Vertical portals These are generally business-to-business sites that will host content to help participants in an industry to get their work done by providing industry news, details of business techniques, and product and service reviews. View See Page impression.

Viral marketing A marketing message is communicated from one person to another, facilitated by different media, such as word of mouth, e-mail or web sites. Implies rapid transmission of messages is intended. Viral referral An 'e-mail a friend or colleague' component to an e-mail campaign or part of web site design.

Virtual cash See Digital cash. Virtual community An Internet-based forum for special-interest groups to communicate using a bulletin board to post messages.

Virtual mall A web site that brings together different electronic retailers at a single virtual (online) location. This contrasts with a fixed-

location infrastructure - the traditional arrangement where retail organisations operate from retail stores situated in fixed locations such as real-world shopping malls. (Also known as electronic mall.)

Virtual merchants Retailers such as Amazon that only operate online - they have no fixed-location infrastructure.

Virtual organisation An organisation that uses information and communications technology to allow it to operate without clearly defined physical boundaries between different functions. It provides customised services by outsourcing production and other functions to third parties.

Virtual private network Private network created using the public network infrastructure of the Internet. Virtualisation The process whereby a company develops more of the characteristics of a virtual organisation.

Visit See Site visit.

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