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Is The Physical Consistency Of Web Interface Design Important In Terms Of User Performance And Satisfation?

2342 words - 10 pages

A good web interface design is an important factor that helps users “interact” with computers. In the present, web interfaces need to be presented and designed in a way in which it can be easily received by the user. In the design field, the elements users see on a computer screen such as the text, graphics and icons etc. make up the interface of a web page (Dabbs, 2002) . Users rely on the interface to complete online tasks and interact with computers and maintaining consistency is an arguably important principle to follow in order to design a good interface. Designers, handbooks and guidelines from the late 20th century to the present stress the importance of consistency, especially ...view middle of the document...

Since consistency is a hard term to define, developers, researchers and professionals in the past aimed to categorise different types of consistencies. In 1989, Human-computer researcher, Jonathan Grudin proposed three categories of consistency: 1) internal consistency, 2) external consistency and 3) analogue consistency. Internal consistency is the consistency within a task or a system, external consistency is the consistency between different tasks or systems and analogue consistency is consistency with conceptual metaphors. Following Grudins theory, Kellogg (1987) constructed a framework that divides internal and external consistency into three sub-groups that web interface consistency can be described by: conceptual, communicational and physical (Axelsson, 2012).

As previously described, the physical consistency of an interface is the graphical appearance of an interface, therefore the physical consistency of a web interface relates to screen layout, colour, font, location of labels and menus, symbols and other visual characteristics (AlTaboli & Abou-zeid, 2007). Studies have shown that out of the three types of consistencies, physical consistency is regarded as the most important from the user’s perspective. Ozok and Salvendy’s investigation (2000) found that out of the three groups, physical consistency is most effective in terms of user performance, assessed by faster task completion, less clicking, faster navigation and less reading errors made by users (Ozok & Salvendy, 2000) . Studies show that the visual appearance of a web site has a major effect on user satisfaction and how users appreciate the web site. Fogg, Soohoo and Danielson (2002) did a study on web site credibility that had 2,684 people rate web sites and comment on the aspects that made a site memorable and credible (Geest, 2005). The aspect that was mentioned most often is the visual appearance of the website as just under 50% of participants mentioned aspects such as layout, colour and font. Another parallel study conducted in 2002 by Stanford, Tauber, Fogg and Marable shows that user interface experts and professionals were far less concerned about the visual appearance of a web interface in comparison to the users (Geest, 2005). Since the visual appearance is such a distinctive and recognised aspect of a web interface, how consistent the look of an interface is also affects the user as it influences the user’s interpretation and evaluation of the web page and the task at hand.

A well-known and well-regarded benefit of having consistent web interface designs is how it helps transfer user’s knowledge from one interface to the next in an efficient way that will also cause less confusion if users explore a new web page for the first time. Through the generations, humans have evolved in environments full of regularities such as what is good, what is bad and what to avoid. These regular sights and patterns are subconsciously registered to help humans acquire knowledge and...

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