In goal-directed web navigation, labels compete for selection: this process often involves knowledge integration and requires selective attention to manage the dizziness of web layouts. Here we ask whether the competition for selection depends on all web navigation options or only on those options that are more likely to be useful for information seeking, and provide evidence in favor of the latter alternative. Participants in our experiment navigated a representative set of real websites of variable complexity, in order to reach an information goal located two clicks away from the starting home page. The time needed to reach the goal was accounted for by a novel measure of home page complexity based on a part of (not all) web options: the number of links embedded within web navigation elements weighted by the number and type of embedding elements. Our measure fully mediated the effect of several standard complexity metrics (the overall number of links, words, images, graphical regions, the JPEG file size of home page screenshots) on information seeking time and usability ratings. Furthermore, it predicted the cognitive demand of web navigation, as revealed by the duration judgment ratio (i.e., the ratio of subjective to objective duration of information search). Results demonstrate that focusing on relevant links while ignoring other web objects optimizes the deployment of attentional resources necessary to navigation. This is in line with a web party effect (i.e., a cocktail party effect in the web environment): users tune into web elements that are relevant for the achievement of their navigation goals and tune out all others.

Web party effect: a cocktail party effect in the web environment

RIGUTTI, SARA;FANTONI, CARLO;GERBINO, WALTER
2015

Abstract

In goal-directed web navigation, labels compete for selection: this process often involves knowledge integration and requires selective attention to manage the dizziness of web layouts. Here we ask whether the competition for selection depends on all web navigation options or only on those options that are more likely to be useful for information seeking, and provide evidence in favor of the latter alternative. Participants in our experiment navigated a representative set of real websites of variable complexity, in order to reach an information goal located two clicks away from the starting home page. The time needed to reach the goal was accounted for by a novel measure of home page complexity based on a part of (not all) web options: the number of links embedded within web navigation elements weighted by the number and type of embedding elements. Our measure fully mediated the effect of several standard complexity metrics (the overall number of links, words, images, graphical regions, the JPEG file size of home page screenshots) on information seeking time and usability ratings. Furthermore, it predicted the cognitive demand of web navigation, as revealed by the duration judgment ratio (i.e., the ratio of subjective to objective duration of information search). Results demonstrate that focusing on relevant links while ignoring other web objects optimizes the deployment of attentional resources necessary to navigation. This is in line with a web party effect (i.e., a cocktail party effect in the web environment): users tune into web elements that are relevant for the achievement of their navigation goals and tune out all others.
https://peerj.com/articles/828/
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2845603
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