The effects of link format and screen location on visual search of web pages

Jonathan Ling, Paul Van Schaik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Navigation of web pages is of critical importance to the usability of web-based systems such as the World Wide Web and intranets. The primary means of navigation is through the use of hyperlinks. However, few studies have examined the impact of the presentation format of these links on visual search. The present study used a two-factor mixed measures design to investigate whether there was an effect of link format (plain text, underlined, bold, or bold and underlined) upon speed and accuracy of visual search and subjective measures in both the navigation and content areas of web pages. An effect of link format on speed of visual search for both hits and correct rejections was found. This effect was observed in the navigation and the content areas. Link format did not influence accuracy in either screen location. Participants showed highest preference for links that were in bold and underlined, regardless of screen area. These results are discussed in the context of visual search processes and design recommendations are given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-921
Number of pages15
JournalErgonomics
Volume47
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2004

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