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The Interactive Effects of Website Delay, Breadth, and Familiarity – improve information scent in information foraging theory study

The negative effects of website delay are well known. Faster is better (Shneiderman 1984, Bouch, Kurchinsky, and Bhatti 2000, Galletta et al. 2004). The trade-off between breadth and depth in menu design has been studied extensively. Wider is better (Jacko et al. 1995, Zaphiris and Mtei 1997, Larson and Czerwinski 1998). User familiarity with terminology and structure in website design has also been studied. Familiar is better (Edwards and Hardman 1989). However, the interaction between all three factors has not been studied until recently. Dennis Galletta, Raymond Henry, Scott McCoy, and Peter Polak analyzed how familiarity and breadth dampen the ill effects of website delay by increasing the “scent” of the target page (Galletta et al. 2006). This article summarizes their results.

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