User research in human-computer interaction : analyzing users' expectations and interactions to improve their experience on websites

Heinz, Silvia. User research in human-computer interaction : analyzing users' expectations and interactions to improve their experience on websites. 2015, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Psychology.


Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_11657

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Research within the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) and website design aims at improving the users’ overall experience on websites. Knowing users’ expectations has turned out to be one of the important factors to design satisfying and successful websites. These expectations are often translated into design recommendations and summarized in usability guidelines. The aim of the present cumulative dissertation is to contribute with empirical studies to the knowledge on how to improve the overall user experience by exploring users’ expectations and analyzing their behavior on websites.
The first set of manuscripts outlines a research project assessing users’ mental representations of different website types. We were interested to see which interface elements users currently expect to be on an online shop, an online newspaper and a company website and where they expect these elements to be located. Results indicate that these mental representations are dynamic and to a certain extent reflect changed in website design.
In a second study, we examine which characteristics of a website determine whether an experience is judged as trustful or distrustful. In this exploratory study, we analyzed users’ reports of a previous visit to a website and identified characteristics enhancing trust or causing distrust. Our data suggests, that complex overall designs and aspects of structural design such as usability issues are related to distrust whereas content design aspects such as the display of security signs and personal and social proof are important in enhancing trust.
Within the last set of studies, we explore the impact of usability guidelines for web forms. A set of 20 guidelines was applied to web forms, and these forms compared to the original ones. On all three improved registration forms, users were able to perform their task faster, experienced fewer problems when submitting the form and were more satisfied. The open comments further suggested a clear layout and structure of the web form to be important to users.
All studies conducted within the present thesis contribute to the existing research in several ways. We collected data on (1) which interface elements users expect to be found on different types of websites and how these elements need to be arranged to meet their expectations, we further (2) investigated which characteristics of websites enhance trust or cause distrust and we (3) determined the impact of guidelines applied to web forms on users’ experience. In a final section of this thesis I discuss the results of the studies, draw conclusions and suggest how our findings can be beneficial to the design of websites and improve the overall user experience.
Advisors:Opwis, Klaus and Greifeneder, Rainer
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Society & Choice > Allgemeine Psychologie und Methodologie (Opwis)
UniBasel Contributors:Heinz, Silvia and Opwis, Klaus and Greifeneder, Rainer
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:11657
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:1 Online-Ressource
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edoc DOI:
Last Modified:22 Jan 2018 15:52
Deposited On:03 May 2016 08:27

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