Users think waiting around for downloads and search engine results is boring and a waste of time.

Users think waiting around for downloads and search engine results is boring and a waste of time.

More than half the participants mentioned this specifically. “I want to get into a website and then move out. I don’t want to lull around,” one participant said. Another person complained about slow downloading of graphics: “I like to see one good picture. I do not want to see tons of pictures. Pictures aren’t worth waiting for.”

Study 1 employed a measure that is novel of’ boredom. Participants were instructed to choose a marble up from a container up for grabs and drop it into another container every time they felt bored or felt like doing something different. Together, the 11 participants moved 12 marbles: 8 marbles while waiting for a page to download, 2 while waiting around for search engine results to seem, and 2 when struggling to find the requested information. (Participants failed to always remember to use the marbles once they were bored). After Study 1, we abandoned the marble way of measuring boredom. Instead, we relied on spoken comments in Study 2 and a conventional satisfaction that is subjective in Study 3.

Conventional Guidelines for Good Writing are Good

Conventional guidelines include carefully organizing the info, using words and categories that produce sense to the audience, using topic sentences, limiting each paragraph to 1 idea that is main and supplying the right number of information.

“You can’t just throw information up there and clutter up cyberspace. Anybody who makes an internet site should take time to organize the information,” one participant said.

While looking for a recipe that is particular Restaurant & Institution magazine’s website, a few of the participants were frustrated that the recipes were categorized by the dates they appeared in the magazine. “this won’t help me find it,” one person said, adding that the categories will make sense towards the user when they were forms of food (desserts, for instance) as opposed to months.

Several participants, while scanning text, would read just the sentence that is first of paragraph. This shows that topic sentences are very important, as is the “one idea per paragraph” rule. One person who was simply attempting to scan a long paragraph said, “It really is not so no problem finding that information. That paragraph should be broken by them into two pieces-one for every topic.”

Clarity and quantity-providing the amount that is right of very important. Two participants who looked at a white paper were confused by a hypertext link at the end of Chapter 1. It said only “Next.” The participants wondered aloud whether that meant “Next Chapter,” “Next Page,” or something else.

Additional Findings

We also discovered that scanning may be the norm, that text should be short (or at the least broken up), that users like summaries while the inverted pyramid writing style, that hypertext structure could be helpful, that graphical elements are liked if they complement the text, and that users suggest there clearly was a task for playfulness and humor in work-related websites. Many of these findings were replicated in Study 2 and are also discussed when you look at the following section.

Due to the difficulty with navigation in Study 1, we chose to take users straight to the pages we wanted them to read through in Study 2. Also, the tasks were built to encourage reading larger levels of text as opposed to simply picking out a fact that is single the page.


We tested 19 participants (8 women and 11 men), ranging in age from 21 to 59. All had at the very least five months of expertise making use of the Web. Participants came from many different occupations, mainly non-technical.

Participants said they normally use the Web for tech support team, product information, research for school reports and work, job opportunities, sales leads, investment information, travel information, weather reports, shopping, coupons, real estate information, games, humor, movie reviews, email, news, sports scores, horoscopes, soap opera updates, medical information, and information that is historical.

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Participants began by discussing why they use the Web. They then demonstrated a favorite website. Finally, they visited three sites that individuals had preselected and performed assigned tasks that required reading and answering questions about the sites. Participants were instructed to “think out loud” throughout the study.

The three preselected sites were rotated between participants from a couple of 18 sites with a variety of content and writing styles, including news, essays, humor, a how-to article, technical articles, a news release, a diary, a biography, a movie review, and political commentary. The assigned tasks encouraged participants to learn the writing, in place of search for specific facts. The task instructions read as follows for most of the sites

“Please go right to the site that is following which is bookmarked: site URL. Take several moments to read it. Go ahead and have a look at anything you wish to. In your opinion, do you know the three most crucial points the author is trying to make? Once you get the answers, we are going to ask you some questions.”

We observed each participant’s behavior and asked several questions about the websites. Standard questions for every site included

  • “What could you say may be the primary purpose of the site?”
  • “How can you describe your website’s form of writing?”
  • “just how do you love the way in which it is written?”
  • “How could the writing in this site be improved?”
  • “How simple to use is the website? Why?”
  • “Exactly how much do you like this site? Why?”
  • “Do you have any advice for the writer or designer of the website?”
  • “Think back into the website you saw just before this 1. Associated with the two sites, which did you like better? Why?”

Simple and Informal Writing are Preferred

This time was produced by 10 participants, nearly all whom complained about writing that was difficult to understand. Commenting on a film review within one site, another individual said, “This review needs a rewrite that is complete put it into more down-to-earth language, making sure that just anybody could see clearly and understand.”

Some participants mentioned they like informal, or conversational, writing better than formal writing. “I like informal writing, because I like to read fast. I really don’t like reading every expressed word, along with formal writing, you must read every word, also it slows you down,” one person said.

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