Users think looking forward to downloads and search engine results is boring and a waste of time.

Users think looking forward to downloads and search engine results is boring and a waste of time.

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

Study 1 employed a measure that is novel of’ boredom. Participants were instructed to select a marble up from a container on the table and drop it into another container every time they felt bored or felt like doing another thing. Together, the 11 participants moved 12 marbles: 8 marbles while looking forward to a web page to download, 2 while waiting for search engine results to show up, and 2 when struggling to find the requested information. (Participants would not always remember to make use of the marbles if they were bored). After Study 1, we abandoned the marble technique for 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 details, using words and categories that produce sense towards the audience, using topic sentences, limiting each paragraph to one main idea, and providing the right quantity of information.

“You can’t just throw information up there and clutter up cyberspace. Anybody who makes a webpage should take the time to prepare the given information,” one participant said.

While looking for a particular recipe in Restaurant & Institution magazine’s website, a few of the participants were frustrated that the recipes were categorized by the dates they starred in the magazine. “this does not assist me find it,” one person said, adding that the categories would make sense towards the user when they were kinds of food (desserts, for instance) instead of months.

Several participants, while scanning text, would read just the sentence that is first of paragraph. This shows that topic sentences are important, as it is the “one idea per paragraph” rule. One individual who had been wanting to scan a what is long paragraph said, “It’s not so easy to find 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 extremely important. Two participants who looked over a white paper were confused by a hypertext link in the bottom of Chapter 1. It said only “Next.” The participants wondered aloud whether that meant “Next Chapter,” “Next Page,” or something like that else.

Additional Findings

We also discovered that scanning may be the norm, that text ought to be short (or at least broken up), that users like summaries while the inverted writing that is pyramid, that hypertext structure could be helpful, that graphical elements are liked if they complement the writing, and that users suggest there is certainly a role for playfulness and humor in work-related websites. A few of these findings were replicated in Study 2 and are discussed in the section that is following.

Due to the difficulty with navigation in Study 1, we decided 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 amounts of text in the place of 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 least five months of expertise using the Web. Participants originated in a number of occupations, mainly non-technical.

Participants said they use the net 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.

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

The three preselected sites were rotated between participants from a couple of 18 sites with a number of content and writing styles, including news, essays, humor, a how-to article, technical articles, a press release, a diary, a biography, a film review, and political commentary. The assigned tasks encouraged participants to read the written text, in the place of look for specific facts. For many of the sites, the task instructions read as follows:

“Please go right to the following site, which can be bookmarked: site URL. Take several moments to read it. Feel free to glance at what you desire to. In your opinion, which are the three most significant points the author is attempting which will make? After you discover the answers, we will ask you to answer some questions.”

We observed each participant’s behavior and asked questions that are several the sites. Standard questions for every single site included

  • “What would you say is the primary purpose of the site?”
  • “How could you describe your website’s model of writing?”
  • “Just how can you want the way it really is written?”
  • “How could the writing in this website be improved?”
  • “How easy to use could be the website? Why?”
  • “How much do you like this site? Why?”
  • “Have you got any advice for the writer or designer of this website?”
  • “Think back to your website you saw right before this one. Associated with the two sites, which do you like better? Why?”

Simple and Informal Writing are Preferred

This point was made by 10 participants, nearly all whom complained about writing that has been difficult to understand. Commenting on a movie review in one single site, another individual said, “This review needs a complete rewrite to put it into more down-to-earth language, making sure that just anybody could read it and understand.”

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