Study on Helping Visitors Find Information

I was informed by Mr. Michael Douma, Executive Director of Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement (IDEA), about his recent study on Finding Information: Factors that Improve Online Experiences yesterday. Mr. Douma was kind to invite me to read the executive summary of the report and provide me a link to download a PDF version of the findings.

This is an interesting study. IDEA conducted this study to determine how people find information online and how the experience of Web site visitors can be improved. The intent of the IDEA’s study is trying to improve the ways people interact with technology.
The study covered three groups: non-profit organizations and cities; web designers and firms; and the general public and attempted to answer the following questions:

  • What makes a Web site effective?
  • What factors contribute to visitors’ enjoyment of a Web site? Does this vary by segments within each population?
  • From a visitors’ perspective, what factors determine a quality Web site?
  • Are there differences between visitors’ needs as perceived by organizations and designers, and those reported by visitors themselves?

The study received 563 clean responses from nonprofit organizations and cities, 250 from web designers and firms, and 1,675 from the general public. Major findings are:

  • Designers underestimate the thresholds for an effective site. Visitors have higher expectations for effectiveness than do designers.
  • Easy access to complete information is key to visitor enjoyment.
  • Good visual design and up-to-date information are critical.
  • Visitors want information fast.
  • Visitors want a broad range of topics.
  • Designers are overly optimistic about visitors’ ability to maintain orientation.
  • Visitors still need handholding.
  • Visitors point to the lack of breadth and depth of site content as causing an “Information Gap.”

As an online educator, I think the results of this study provide many useful information and ideas on designing educational Web sites or online courses that allow learners to easily find information and orient themselves on the Web site. For more details about the study as well as its findings, you can download the 17 page report in PDF at: http://www.idea.org/find-information.pdf

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About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
This entry was posted in Web 2.0, Web Design and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Study on Helping Visitors Find Information

  1. 鄭伊真 says:

    這樣研究發現十分有趣,該研究指出使用者心中好的網站所具備的最重要要素–讓人能輕易地獲得完整且最新的資訊和良好的視覺設計,給老師和相關教育人員建置與維護教育網站很棒的參考。就像是到餐廳吃飯後服務生會請顧客填寫的意見調查表,從回收的顧客意見裡彙整出不足的地方以改進、不錯的地方則好還要更好,因為人畢竟不是全能的,由他人的角度來重新審視,能發現原本未發現的盲點,也能更符合使用者的需求。這類市場調查的概念在商業應用上已十分普遍,台灣目前除大學每學期定期進行教學意見調查外,在其餘的教育階段內並不多見,評估教學成效仍以有多少學生考滿分或考上好學校為指標。有的人或許認為小孩子能懂什麼,有的人或許覺得什麼都依學生的意見還不寵壞他們,但我想學生即使年紀小仍能夠分辨什麼對他們是好的而什麼是不好的,而且校園是老師與學生共同生活的地方,學生的心聲怎能不好好聽一聽呢?從中找出學生的需求不正符合因材施教的理念嗎?其實,教育也是服務業之一種啊!

  2. 鄭伊真 says:

    這樣研究發現十分有趣,該研究指出使用者心中好的網站所具備的最重要要素–讓人能輕易地獲得完整且最新的資訊和良好的視覺設計,給老師和相關教育人員建置與維護教育網站很棒的參考。就像是到餐廳吃飯後服務生會請顧客填寫的意見調查表,從回收的顧客意見裡彙整出不足的地方以改進、不錯的地方則好還要更好,因為人畢竟不是全能的,由他人的角度來重新審視,能發現原本未發現的盲點,也能更符合使用者的需求。這類市場調查的概念在商業應用上已十分普遍,台灣目前除大學每學期定期進行教學意見調查外,在其餘的教育階段內並不多見,評估教學成效仍以有多少學生考滿分或考上好學校為指標。有的人或許認為小孩子能懂什麼,有的人或許覺得什麼都依學生的意見還不寵壞他們,但我想學生即使年紀小仍能夠分辨什麼對他們是好的而什麼是不好的,而且校園是老師與學生共同生活的地方,學生的心聲怎能不好好聽一聽呢?從中找出學生的需求不正符合因材施教的理念嗎?其實,教育也是服務業之一種啊!

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