The effects of screen ratio and order on information retrieval in web pages

Paul Van Schaik, Jonathan Ling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Aesthetics can have a pivotal role in the success of Web sites [Interacting with Computers 15 (2003) 429], but need to be considered in conjunction with task performance. Typical Web pages divide the screen into a menu area for navigation and a content area to display information. The Golden Section can be applied to decide on the proportion of these two areas on the screen when designing this type of page. Using a computer-controlled experiment, we examined the role of aesthetics in the use of Web pages. Ninety-eight participants completed an information retrieval task. Analysis of variance showed that the effect of screen ratio (width of menu area to content area) on task performance and subjective outcomes was statistically significant. Application of the Golden Section was found to result in the worst screen ratio. The results are discussed in terms of theories of categorisation and aesthetic behaviour, and design recommendations are given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2003


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