The experiment used five versions of a web page made for this research.

The experiment used five versions of a web page made for this research.


The participants were 51 experienced internet users recruited by Sun (average level of Web experience was 2 years). Participants ranged in age from 22-69 (average age was 41). So as to give attention to «normal users,» we excluded the following professions from the research: 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 web sites within our study been more difficult to navigate or had our tasks necessitated use of search engines or any other Web infrastructure, we would 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 about Nebraska. We used a travel site because 1) inside our earlier qualitative studies, many internet users said travel is one of their interests, and 2) travel content lent itself towards the different writing styles we desired 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 form of the Travel Nebraska site consisted of seven pages, and all versions used the hypertext structure that is same. So that participants would focus on text rather than be distracted, we used affordable essay service modest hypertext (with no links beyond your site) and included only three photos plus one illustration. There is no animation. Topics within the site were Nebraska’s history, geography, population, tourist attractions, and economy. The Appendix to the paper shows elements of a sample page from each condition.

The control version of your website had a style that is promotional of (i.e., «marketese,»), which contained exaggeration, subjective claims, and boasting, rather than just simple facts. Today this style is characteristic of many pages on the Web.

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

The scannable version also contained marketese, however it was written to encourage scanning, or skimming, associated with text for information of interest. This version used bulleted lists, 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 during the usability lab, the participant signed a videotape consent form, then was told he or she would visit a website, perform tasks, and answer several questions.

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

The participant began during the web site’s homepage. The initial two tasks were to find specific facts (situated on separate pages when you look at the site), without using a search tool or perhaps 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) when the participant first had to find relevant information, then make a judgment about it. This task was followed by Part 2 for the questionnaire.

Next, the participant was instructed to pay ten full minutes learning whenever possible from the pages within the website, when preparing for a short exam. Finally, the participant was asked to draw in some recoverable format the dwelling for the website, to the best of his / her recollection.

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

Task time was the number of seconds it took users to find answers for the two search tasks plus one judgment task.

The two search tasks were to answer: «On what date did Nebraska become a continuing state?» and «Which Nebraska city may be the 7th largest, in terms of population?» The questions when it comes to judgment task were: «In your opinion, which tourist attraction would be the one that is best to see? Why do you believe so?»

Task errors was a percentage score in line with the quantity of incorrect answers users gave when you look at the two search tasks.

Memory comprised two measures through the exam: recall and recognition. Recognition memory was a percentage score on the basis of the quantity of correct answers without the amount of incorrect answers to 5 questions that are multiple-choice. As one example, one of many questions read: «which can be Nebraska’s largest ethnic group? a) English b) Swedes c) Germans d) Irish.»

Recall memory was a percentage score based on the number of places of interest correctly recalled without the number incorrectly recalled. The question was: «can you remember any true names of places of interest mentioned within the website? Please use the space below to list all the ones you remember.»

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

A measure that is related sitemap accuracy, was a share score in line with the wide range of pages (maximum 7) and connections between pages (maximum 9) correctly identified, without the amount of pages and connections incorrectly identified.

Subjective satisfaction was determined from participants’ answers to a paper-and-pencil questionnaire. Some questions asked about specific components of working together with the site, along with 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 scales.