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Beyond the first encounter: A longitudinal study about website navigation.

Lucassen, Joris (2013) Beyond the first encounter: A longitudinal study about website navigation.

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Abstract:In Human Computer Interaction studies the usability of software or websites, in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and user satisfaction is rated. Participants are asked to perform specific tasks using the particular software or website and their performance is rated. In most cases these studies have cross sectional designs, measuring the performance of a number of participants at one particular moment in time. The power law of practice states that performance on tasks increases in terms of speed and accuracy with practice. In studies with a longitudinal design, thus rating the performance of participants over multiple sessions and therefore including the practice variable, this process of increasing performance can be mapped. One of the main problems that occur when users of the World Wide Web perform information seeking tasks is dealing with the navigational structure of a website. User experiences often can be negative because of feeling lost or needing to much time to complete the task. Users make navigational choices based on their mental model of specific website structures. With time and experience these mental models are adjusted. The performance of a user on a navigational task is based on the fit between the mental model of the structure and the actual navigation structure of a website. Just as the power law of practice implies, the performance of users when navigating a website increases with practice, when their mental model is adjusted and fits more with the actual structure. Website developers try to create structures that not only fit the mental model of users but also facilitate the learning process in order to reach a high level of maximum performance in the least amount of practice. In this longitudinal study is tried to get an idea to what extend navigation path length, a key factor in the concept of navigation path complexity, influences the learning process of users when it comes to navigational tasks on municipal websites.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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