Participants

The participants were 51 experienced Web users recruited by Sun (average level of Web experience was 24 months). Participants ranged in age from 22-69 (average age was 41). In an attempt to concentrate on “normal users,” we excluded the professions that are following the analysis: webmasters, web-site designers, graphic artists, user interface professionals, writers, editors, computer scientists, and computer programmers.

We checked for effects of age and Web experience from the dependent variables mentioned in the 1st five hypotheses, but we found only negligible differences-none significant. Had the sites inside our study been more challenging to navigate or had our tasks necessitated use of search engines or other Web infrastructure, we might have expected significant outcomes 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,” the site contained information on Nebraska. We used a travel site because 1) inside our earlier qualitative studies, many Web users said travel is regarded as their interests, and 2) travel content lent itself towards the different writing styles we desired to study. We chose Nebraska to reduce the result of prior knowledge on our measures (in recruiting participants, we screened out those who had ever lived in, and even near, Nebraska).

Each type of the Travel Nebraska site consisted of seven pages, and all versions used the hypertext structure that is same. To make certain that participants would give attention to text and never be distracted, we used modest hypertext (with no links outside of the site) and included only three photos plus one illustration. There clearly was no animation. Topics within the site were Nebraska’s history, geography, population, places of interest, and economy. The Appendix to this paper shows elements of an example page from each condition.

The control type of the site had a style that is promotional of (for example., “marketese,”), which contained exaggeration, subjective claims, and boasting, rather than just simple facts. This style is characteristic of many pages on line today.

The concise version had a promotional writing style, but its text was much shorter. Certain less-important information was cut, bringing the phrase count for each page to about half that of the corresponding page within the control version. Some of the writing in this version was at the inverted pyramid style. However, all information users necessary to perform the mandatory tasks was presented in the order that is same all versions for the site.

The version that is scannable contained marketese, nonetheless it was written to encourage scanning, or skimming, associated with 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.

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

After making certain the participant knew how to use the browser, the experimenter explained that he would observe from the room across the street into the lab through the one-way mirror. Through the entire study, the participant received both printed instructions from a paper packet and verbal instructions from the experimenter.

The participant began in the site’s homepage. The initial two tasks were to find specific facts (situated on separate pages in the site), without using a search tool or perhaps the “Find” command. The participant then answered Part 1 of a brief questionnaire. Next was a judgment task (suggested by Spool et al. 1997) in which the participant first had to find relevant information, then make a judgment about this. This task was followed by Part 2 regarding the questionnaire.

Next, the participant was instructed to expend ten minutes learning whenever you can from the pages into the website, when preparing for a short exam. Finally, the participant was asked to draw written down the structure associated with website, to your best of his or her recollection.

After completing the research, each participant was told facts about the study and received a gift.

Task time was the true quantity of seconds it took users to find answers for the two search tasks and something judgment task.

The 2 search tasks were to resolve: “On what date did Nebraska become a state?” and “Which Nebraska city may be the 7th largest, in terms of population?” The questions for the judgment task were: “In your opinion, which tourist attraction would be the right one to check out? Why do you imagine so?”

Task errors was a percentage score in line with the true quantity of incorrect answers users gave into the buy essays two search tasks.

Memory comprised two measures from the exam: recognition and recall. Recognition memory was a share score in line with the wide range of correct answers minus the number of incorrect answers to 5 multiple-choice questions. For instance, among the questions read: “which can be Nebraska’s largest ethnic group? a) English b) Swedes c) Germans d) Irish.”

Recall memory was a portion score based on the true number of tourist attractions correctly recalled minus the number incorrectly recalled. The question was: “can you remember any names of places of interest mentioned into the website? Please use the space below to list all the ones you remember.”

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

A measure that is related sitemap accuracy, was a share score on the basis of the quantity of pages (maximum 7) and connections between pages (maximum 9) correctly identified, minus the amount of pages and connections incorrectly identified.

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

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