Revealing user behaviour on the world-wide web

Research output: Working paper


This paper presents the results of a qualitative study of user behaviour on the World-Wide Web. Eight participants were filmed whilst performing user-defined tasks and then asked to review the video-taped session during prompted recall. This data forms the basis for a series of descriptions of user behaviour and the postulation of a number of underlying cognitive mechanisms. Our results indicate that people: lack ready made search strategies, prefer alternatives that are visible, immediately available and familiar, choose the path of least resistance, exhibit social forms of behaviour, engage in parallel activities, object to misleadingly presented information, have trouble orienting, are late in using appropriate strategies, are sensitive to matters of time, and are emotionally involved in the activity. The paper ends with a discussion of how these results can contribute to our understanding of hypermedia. Keywords: Internet, World-Wide Web, Browsing Strategies, Hypertext Navigation, Qualitative Methodology, User-Defined Tasks, Cognitive Mechanisms.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy
  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameLund University Cognitive Studies 60
ISSN (Print)1101-8453