Technology Acceptance Model (TAM model)

The Technology Acceptance Model or TAM model shows which factors influence people's intention to actually use a product. In this article, we take a closer look at the factors and explain the role that the System Usability Scale can play in this.

What is the technology acceptance model?
The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM model) is based on the research that Fred Davis completed in 1989. The TAM model argues that the adoption rate of a product does not depend on the features it has, but rather on the experience - the user experience - that the user has.

Even before Fred Davis started his research, there was a consensus that a wide deployment of a system depends on the intention to use the product. Not surprising. What is surprising - and was already known at the time - is that the intention to use a product largely depends on the attitude that potential users have towards the product. Schematically this looks like this:

Attitude → Intention to use → Actual use of system

But how is the attitude towards a particular product determined? And how could you positively influence that attitude to ensure that more people start using the product? That is where it gets interesting and where the TAM model shines more light.

For example, the technology acceptance model states that the perceived usefulness and the perceived ease of use have the most influence on the adoption rate of a new product, whereby the perceived usefulness weighs about one and a half times heavier than the perceived ease of use.

The perceived usefulness is the degree to which a user sees the added value or usefulness of the product - and the perceived ease is the perceived ease of use.

The model states that both factors can in turn be influenced by external factors, such as social norms, recommendations from friends and background knowledge.

The full TAM model then looks like this:

Measure Perceived Usefulness

To determine the perceived usefulness of a product, users are asked to rate the product on six points using a Likert scale.

1. Using this product at work would help me complete tasks faster.
2. Using this product would improve my job performance.
3. Using this product would increase my productivity.
4. Using would increase my effectiveness at work. *
5. Using this product would make it easier to do my job.
6. I would find this product useful at work.

Measure Perceived Ease of Use

The system usability scale is often used to measure the Perceived Ease of Use. The advantage of this is that you can benchmark the SUS score against other products in the market.

Don't want to use the SUS? Then you can also use the questions drawn up by the TAM model.

7. Learning how to handle the product would be easy for me.
8. I would find it easy to let the product do what I want it to. *
9. My interaction with this product would be clear and smooth.
10. I would find this product flexible to work with.
11. It would be easy for me to become agile with the product.
12. I would find it easy to use. *

Side note
Over the years, the TAM model has been further developed and new models have been added. Apart from that, perceived usefulness is completely work-related, while most websites and apps are aimed at consumers.

But even with the recently developed models, no consensus has yet been reached on which variant is most accurate. However, it seems that UMUX-Lite has a great chance of taking over the baton of the TAM model further.