• â Itâ s the journey and the destinationâ : Shape and the emergent property of genre in evaluating digital documents

      Dillon, Andrew; Vaughan, Misha (1997)
      This item is not the definitive copy. Please use the following citation when referencing this material: Dillon and Vaughan (1997) It's the journey and the destination: Shape and the emergent property of genre in digital documents. New Review of Multimedia and Hypermedia, 3, 91-106. Introduction: To anyone versed in the literature on hypermedia, it is clear that the last 10 yearsâ worth of research on usability since Conklinâ s (1987) seminal article has largely been ignored by web designers. Surfing web sites even casually will likely expose a user to screens of badly formatted text, superfluous graphics, mixed fonts, unreadable color combinations, and dangling or dead links. While the issue of knowledge transfer between research disciplines and design practice is fraught with problems and is a fascinating topic in and of itself (see e.g., Klein and Eason, 1993), this is not the focus of the present paper. Instead we wish to extend work that started with the birth of hypertext systems and continues to demand attention in these days of free-for-all web design: the evaluation of user behaviour in electronic space. Specifically, this paper will extend the analysis of â user navigationâ to the evaluation of user behaviour in web environments.
    • The Role of genre in shaping our understanding of digital documents

      Vaughan, Misha; Dillon, Andrew; Preston, Cecilia M. (Medford, N.J.: ASIS, 1998)
      This item is not the definitive copy. Please use the following citation when referencing this material: Vaughan, M. and Dillon, A. (1998) The role of genre in shaping our understanding of digital documents. Proc. 61st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science. Medford NJ: Information Today Inc., 559-566. Abstract: Interacting with documents in the digital domain is challenging many of our notions about discourse and its boundaries. Hyperlinked documents on the World Wide Web defy easy categorization and evaluation - making the role and value of digital documents difficult to assess. Most importantly, in such fluid and complex environments it is difficult to understand the nature of the interaction between users and information resources. This paper argues that notions such as navigation are limiting our understanding of these complex information spaces. Instead, what is needed is a broader framework of analysis that can embrace these concepts, and incorporate extended issues relating to shared understanding, relevance, and style. In the present paper we explore the utility of the intersection of genre theory and cognitive psychology in providing a meaningful framework for analysis and design purposes. In so doing we report the results of our latest research into the elements of genre that influence users of digital documents and provide examples of the usefulness of this analysis in web-based environments.
    • Why structure and genre matter to users of digital information: a longitudinal study with readers of a web-based newspaper

      Vaughan, Misha; Dillon, Andrew (Elsevier, 2006)
      In an effort to understand the impact of designing for digital genres on usersâ mental representations of structure, a two-phase study was conducted. In phase 1, six expert news readers and a panel of HCI experts were solicited for input regarding genre-conforming and genre-violating web news page design, navigation, and story categorization. In phase 2, a longitudinal experiment with a group of 25 novice web news readers who were exposed to one of the two designs over 5 sessions is reported. During these sessions a variety of user data were captured, including: comprehension (recall, recognition), usability (time on task, accuracy, user satisfaction), and navigation (path length, category node hits). The between-group difference of web site design was signiï¬ cant for comprehension, usability, and navigation with the users of the genre-conforming design demonstrating better performance. The within-group difference of time was signiï¬ cant across these three measures as well, with performance improving over time. No interaction effect was found between web site design and time on comprehension or usability. However, a surprising interaction effect was found on navigation; speciï¬ cally the breadth of navigation (i.e. the number of nodes visited for two classes of tasks) increased over time more dramatically for the genre-violating group than for the genre-conforming group. By examining the changes in these data over time and between the two designs, evidence for the development of usersâ mental representations of structure was captured.