Web Navigation and the Behavioral Effects of Constantly Visible Site Maps

David R. Danielson

David R. Danielson, Web Navigation and the Behavioral Effects of Constantly Visible Site Maps, Interacting with Computers, 14(5):601-618, October 2002.

Knowledge regarding how Web information-seekers behave with respect to the structures and cues they are provided with may shed light on general principles of navigation in electronic spaces, and assist designers in making more informed structural decisions. This study examines user movement through hierarchically structured Web sites and the behavioral effects of a constantly visible, textual contents list for relatively small sites or more extensive local views than are generally used on the Web today. The site overview resulted in users abandoning fewer information-seeking tasks. Users with such context dig deeper into the site structure, make less use of the browser's Back button, and frequently make navigational movements of great hierarchical distances. Navigational correlates of success and reported confidence for users with the overview differ from those without such context. Both with and without a constant overview, the relationship between the source and destination pages may help predict the amount of time spent at the destination. Experimental reports are preceded by a review of click-stream navigation behavior research.


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