Design parameters in Web pages: frame location and differential background contrast in visual search performance

Paul van Schaik, Jonathan Ling

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Abstract

One of the most important determinants of the success of Web sites is their degree of usability. This study aims to contribute toward Web design guidelines for usability through an empirical investigation into 2 Web page design parameters. Using a 2 x 4 mixed measures experimental design, we studied the effects of frame layout and background contrast on visual search performance. Using mock Web pages, 154 undergraduates carried out a visual search task. Analysis showed an effect of layout both on accuracy and speed measures, with frames located at the top of the screen leading to better performance. No main effect of contrast was found, although there was an interaction between layout and contrast in reaction time for hits. Preference for frame layout was dependent on background contrast. The results are discussed in terms of visual search processes, and design recommendations are given.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cognitive Ergonomics
Volume5
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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title = "Design parameters in Web pages: frame location and differential background contrast in visual search performance",
abstract = "One of the most important determinants of the success of Web sites is their degree of usability. This study aims to contribute toward Web design guidelines for usability through an empirical investigation into 2 Web page design parameters. Using a 2 x 4 mixed measures experimental design, we studied the effects of frame layout and background contrast on visual search performance. Using mock Web pages, 154 undergraduates carried out a visual search task. Analysis showed an effect of layout both on accuracy and speed measures, with frames located at the top of the screen leading to better performance. No main effect of contrast was found, although there was an interaction between layout and contrast in reaction time for hits. Preference for frame layout was dependent on background contrast. The results are discussed in terms of visual search processes, and design recommendations are given.",
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AB - One of the most important determinants of the success of Web sites is their degree of usability. This study aims to contribute toward Web design guidelines for usability through an empirical investigation into 2 Web page design parameters. Using a 2 x 4 mixed measures experimental design, we studied the effects of frame layout and background contrast on visual search performance. Using mock Web pages, 154 undergraduates carried out a visual search task. Analysis showed an effect of layout both on accuracy and speed measures, with frames located at the top of the screen leading to better performance. No main effect of contrast was found, although there was an interaction between layout and contrast in reaction time for hits. Preference for frame layout was dependent on background contrast. The results are discussed in terms of visual search processes, and design recommendations are given.

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