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Rigutti Sara, Fantoni Carlo, Walter Gerbino; Searching for a target word in a web page: the three components of information seeking behavior. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):720. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/7.9.720.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Although the role of web page layout has been found to affect the Information Seeking Behaviour ISB, cognitive models of web navigation emphasize semantic aspects: the higher the similarity between user's goal and label meaning the easier the selection. We report research demonstrating that ISB is driven by the implicit knowledge of the item to which a target word is most likely to belong (bar for basic vs. embedded links for subordinate), and on reading direction (from top to bottom regions of the page), rather than by a semantic alone component.
The effectiveness of each ISB component was studied in three experiments using a simulated web page. Observer performed a visual search for a target non-word (in experiment 1) or a target word (basic vs. subordinate in experiment 2 and 3). Within each positive trial, the label matching with the target were displayed in one of six possible positions: three within the navigation bar and three within the embedded links. In experiment 1 and 2 the navigation bar was on the top region while embedded links were on the bottom and vice-versa in experiment 3.
Results of experiment 1 was consistent with reading direction effectiveness: speed for searching the target non-word was larger when the label that matched was at the top. In experiment 2 and 3, visual search was faster for the basic target word than subordinate when the label that matched was in the bar: no matter on bar spatial position. The opposite occurred when the term matching the target was in the embedded links.
A weighted linear combination of all three ISB components explained the data trend. Overall results are relevant for both a broader view of web navigation modeling and a better understanding of ISB.
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