(1) Rice University, Houston, TX (2) Stephen F.Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX
(To be published in Proceedings of the 51st Annual Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 2007.)
This study was conducted to determine if small changes to a site's primary navigation structure would significantly impact user performance. Between a user's first visit and their subsequent revisit a week later, a single task-related link was either consistently present, consistently absent, or was added or removed between the two visits. Results show that performance was significantly degraded when the critical navigation element was removed from the page after the user first visited the site. Additions to the navigational structure were less disruptive to user performance and actually enhanced it because the additional link provided another navigational pathway to the desired information. The one week re-visitation delay produced results similar to those found in a similar study where the delay was less than 5 minutes (Scharff, 2006). Further research is being conducted to determine the between-visit time required in order for performance to be consistent regardless of the link condition.
Return to Scharff web usability studies page.