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

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

More than half the participants mentioned this specifically. “I love to get into an online site and get out then. I don’t like to lull around,” one participant said. Some other person complained about slow downloading of graphics: “I like to see one picture that is good. I do not like to see a great deal of pictures. Pictures are not worth waiting for.”

Study 1 employed a measure that is novel of’ boredom. Participants were instructed to pick a marble up from a container up for grabs and drop it into another container whenever they felt bored or felt like doing another thing. Together, the 11 participants moved 12 marbles: 8 marbles while waiting for a web page to download, 2 while waiting around for search engine results to show up, and 2 when not able to get the requested information. (Participants failed to always remember to make use of the marbles if 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 data, using words and categories which make sense into the audience, using topic sentences, limiting each paragraph to 1 idea that is main and providing the right amount of information.

“You can not just throw information up there and clutter up cyberspace. Anybody who makes an internet site should take time to prepare 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 starred in the magazine. “this does not assist me find it,” one individual said, adding that the categories would make sense towards the user when they were kinds of food (desserts, for instance) in place of months.

Several participants, while scanning text, would read only the first sentence of every paragraph. This suggests that topic sentences are very important, as is the “one idea per paragraph” rule. One individual who was simply trying to scan a long paragraph said, “It is not so simple to find that information. That paragraph should be broken by them into two pieces-one for each topic.”

Clarity and quantity-providing the right amount of information-are very important. Two participants who looked at 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 found that scanning is the norm, that text ought to be short (or at the least broken up), that users like summaries and the inverted pyramid writing style, that hypertext structure can be helpful, that graphical elements are liked when they complement the writing, and therefore users suggest there clearly was a role for playfulness and humor in work-related websites. Many of these findings were replicated in Study 2 and therefore are discussed into the following section.

Because of the problems with navigation in Study 1, we decided to take users directly to the pages we wanted them to read in Study 2. Also, the tasks were made to encourage reading larger quantities of text instead 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 very least five months of expertise using the Web. Participants originated from many different occupations, mainly non-technical.

Participants said they 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.

Participants began by discussing why the Web is used by them. 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 regarding 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 the place of look for specific facts. The task instructions read as follows for most of the sites

“Please go to the site that is following which will be bookmarked: site URL. Take several moments to read it. Go ahead and glance at anything you would you like to. In your opinion, which are the three most critical points the writer is attempting to produce? After you discover the answers, we’re going to ask you to answer some questions.”

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

  • “What can you say is the purpose that is primary of site?”
  • “How could you describe your website’s type of writing?”
  • “How do you love the way in which it really is written?”
  • “How could the writing in this website be improved?”
  • “How user friendly is the website? Why?”
  • “Exactly how much do you really like this site? Why?”
  • “Do you have any advice for the writer or designer for this website?”
  • “Think back into the site you saw prior to this one. Of this two sites, which did you like better? Why?”

Simple and Informal Writing are Preferred

This aspect was created by 10 participants, several of whom complained about writing that was difficult to understand. Commenting on a film review within one site, someone else said, “This review needs a complete rewrite to put it into more down-to-earth language, to make certain that just anybody could read it 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 don’t like reading every word, sufficient reason for formal writing, you must read every word, and it also slows you down,” one individual said.

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