Description: Advice for Web designers often includes an admonition to use short, scannable, bullet-pointed text, reflecting the common belief that browsing the Web most often involves scanning rather than reading. Literature from several disciplines focuses on the myriad combinations of factors related to online reading but studies of the users' interests and motivations appear to offer a more promising avenue for understanding how users utilize information on Web pages. This study utilized the modified Personal Involvement Inventory (PII), a ten-item instrument used primarily in the marketing and advertising fields, to measure interest and motivation toward a topic presented on the Web. Two sites were constructed from Reader's Digest Association, Inc. online articles and a program written to track students' use of the site. Behavior was measured by the initial choice of short versus longer versions of the main page, the number of pages visited and the amount of time spent on the site. Data were gathered from students at a small, private university in the southwest part of the United States to answer six hypotheses which posited that subjects with higher involvement in a topic presented on the Web and a more positive attitude toward the Web would tend to select the longer text version, visit more pages, and spend more time on the site. While attitude toward the Web did not correlate significantly with any of the behavioral factors, the level of involvement was associated with the use of the sites in two of three hypotheses, but only partially in the manner hypothesized. Increased involvement with a Web topic did correlate with the choice of a longer, more detailed initial Web page, but was inversely related to the number of pages viewed so that the higher the involvement, the fewer pages visited. An additional indicator of usage, the average amount ...
Date: May 2003
Creator: Langford, James David
Item Type: Thesis or Dissertation