The Impact of Task on the Usage of Web Browser Navigation Tools

Authors: 

Melanie Kellar
Carolyn Watters
Michael Shepherd

Author Addresses: 

Faculty of Computer Science
Dalhousie University
6050 University Ave.
PO Box 15000
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
B3H 4R2

{melanie, watters, shepherd}@cs.dal.ca

Abstract: 

The design and improvement of existing web browser navigation tools is often motivated by reports of high tool usage in the literature. However, general usage data alone is not enough to understand the utility of a given navigation tool. In this paper, we explore how factors such as task and individual differences influence the usage of different web browser navigation tools. We conducted a field study of 21 participants in which we logged detailed web usage and asked participants to provide task categorizations of their web usage based on the following tasks: Fact Finding, Information Gathering, Browsing, and Transactions. Using this data, we have identified three factors that play a role in the use of navigation tools: the task session, the task, and individual differences. These findings have implications for the future design of new and improved web navigation tools.

Tech Report Number: 
CS-2005-16
Report Date: 
October 1, 2005
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