The experiment used five versions of a web page designed for this study.

The experiment used five versions of a web page designed for this study.

The experiment used five versions of a web page designed for this study.


The participants were 51 experienced Web users recruited by Sun (average quantity of Web experience was a couple of years). Participants ranged in age from 22-69 (average age was 41). So that they can concentrate on “normal users,” we excluded the following professions from the research: webmasters, Web designers, graphic artists, graphical user interface professionals, writers, editors, computer scientists, and computer programmers.

We checked for results of age and Web experience on the dependent variables mentioned in the 1st five hypotheses, but we found only differences-none significant that is negligible. Had web sites in our study been more challenging to navigate or had our tasks necessitated use of search engines or any other Web infrastructure, we might have expected significant results of both age and Web experience.

The experiment employed a 5-condition (promotional control, scannable, concise, objective, or combined) between-subjects design. Conditions were balanced for employment and gender status.

Experimental Materials

Called “Travel Nebraska,” your website contained information regarding Nebraska. We used a travel site because 1) within our earlier qualitative studies, many Web users said travel is one of their interests, and 2) travel content lent itself into the writing that is different we wished to study. We chose Nebraska to minimize the end result of prior knowledge on our measures (in recruiting participants, we screened out those who had ever lived in, if not near, Nebraska).

Each type of the Travel Nebraska site consisted of seven pages, and all versions used the hypertext structure that is same. To ensure participants would give attention to text and not be distracted, we used hypertext that is modestwithout any links away from site) and included only three photos and another illustration. There was clearly no animation. Topics included in the site were Nebraska’s history, geography, population, tourist attractions, and economy. The Appendix to the paper shows areas of a sample page from each condition.

The control form of the site had a style that is promotional of (for example., “marketese,”), which contained exaggeration, subjective claims, and boasting, instead of just simple facts. Today this style is characteristic of many pages on the Web.

The concise version had a promotional writing style, but its text was much shorter. Certain information that is less-important cut, bringing the phrase count for every single page to about half compared to the corresponding page into the control version. A few of the writing in this version was at the inverted style that is pyramid. However, all information users needed seriously to perform the desired tasks was presented into the same order in all versions regarding the site.

The scannable version also contained marketese, however it was written to encourage scanning, or skimming, of the text for information of interest. This version used lists that are bulleted boldface text to highlight keywords, photo captions, shorter sections of text, and more headings.

The objective version was stripped of marketese. It presented information without exaggeration, subjective claims, or boasting.

The combined version had shorter word count, was marked up for scannability, and was stripped of marketese.

Upon arrival at the usability lab, the participant signed a videotape consent form, then was told she or he would visit a website, perform tasks, and answer several questions.

The experimenter explained that he would observe from the room next door to the lab through the one-way mirror after making sure the participant knew how to use the browser. The participant received both printed instructions from a paper packet and verbal instructions from the experimenter throughout the study.

The participant began during the web site’s homepage. The very first two tasks were to search for specific facts (located on separate pages when you look at the site), without the need for a search tool or even the “Find” command. The participant then answered Part 1 of a questionnaire that is brief. Next was a judgment task (suggested by Spool et al. 1997) in which the participant first needed to find information that is relevant then make a judgment about any of it. This task was followed by Part 2 of this questionnaire.

Next, the participant was instructed to pay ten full minutes learning whenever you can from the pages into the website, in preparation for a exam that is short. Finally, the participant was asked to draw in writing the structure of the website, towards the best of his or her recollection.

Each participant was told details about the study and received a gift after completing the study.

Task time was the true quantity of seconds it took users to locate answers when it comes to two search tasks plus one judgment task.

The two search tasks were to resolve: “On what date did Nebraska become a continuing state?” and “Which Nebraska city may be the 7th largest, when it comes to population?” The questions for the judgment task were: “In your opinion, which tourist attraction would be the one that is best to check out? How come you might think so?”

Task errors was a percentage score on the basis of the wide range of incorrect answers users gave into the two search tasks.

Memory comprised two measures through the exam: recognition and recall. Recognition memory was a share score on the basis of the quantity of correct answers minus the quantity of incorrect answers to 5 questions that are multiple-choice. As an example, one of several questions read: “which will be Nebraska’s largest group that is ethnic? a) English b) Swedes c) Germans d) Irish.”

Recall memory was a portion score in line with the true number of places of interest correctly recalled without the number incorrectly recalled. The question was: “Do you remember any names of places of interest mentioned into the website? Please use the space below to list all of the ones you remember.”

Time to recall site structure was the true number of seconds it took users to attract a sitemap.

A related measure, sitemap accuracy, was a share score on the basis of the quantity of pages (maximum 7) and connections between pages (maximum 9) correctly identified, without the wide range of pages and connections incorrectly identified.

Subjective satisfaction was determined from participants’ answers to a paper-and-pencil questionnaire. Some questions asked about specific facets of dealing with your website, and other questions asked for an assessment of how good certain adjectives described the website (anchored by “Describes the website very poorly” to “Describes the site very well”). All questions used 10-point Likert college homework helper scales.

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