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How Web browsers shape users' understanding of networks

Sheeran, L; Sasse, MA; Rimmer, J; Wakeman, I; (2002) How Web browsers shape users' understanding of networks. EMERALD

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What happens when users encounter breakdown situations when browsing the Web? Reports a study in which 35 participants were asked to think aloud whilst following a trail through a series of Web pages. Some of the pages were designed to cause error messages to be displayed by the browser when users tried to interact with them. The results from the study showed that the error messages did not help users to diagnose the cause of the problems, or develop their understanding of the Internet. Error messages do provide a vocabulary for describing problems, but fail to provide a model to pin the terminology on, We suggest that an underlying model of Web browsing should be available for users to learn from the error messages, rather than just seeing them as a sign of "something being wrong".

Type: Other
Title: How Web browsers shape users' understanding of networks
DOI: 10.1108/02640470210418254
Keywords: Internet, design, model, user studies
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/129666
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