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Understanding the Direct and Interaction Effects of Web Delay and Related Factors

Galletta, Dennis F and Henry, Raymond M and McCoy, Scott and Polak, Peter (2006) Understanding the Direct and Interaction Effects of Web Delay and Related Factors. In: Human-computer interaction and management information systems applications. M.E. Sharpe, Armonk, 29 - 69. ISBN 9780765621504

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The benefits of using the Internet are partially offset by one aspect of its usability: highly variable, intermittent, but frequent inter-page delay. For several years, the HCI literature has studied user reactions to long computer response time in clerical applications, but few studies have examined this problem in the domain of the Web. Examining the delay problem in a Web context is important, because the Web touches many more users, most of whom have little formal computer or task training. Hence, we have examined in our labs consequences of delay, along with factors that interact with delay. Some of our experiments have been published and some are still under review. Consequences of delay that we examined include user attitudes, behavior, and performance. Factors that we examined for possible interactions included site depth, familiarity with terminology used in organizing the site, variability of the delay, and feedback (continuous and gradual filling of the screen to make it obvious that the page is indeed loading). Experiment 1 (n 196) provided seven levels of delay, ranging from zero to twelve seconds (in two-second increments), and discovered that ill effects began as delay exceeded two seconds. Experiment 2 (n 206) again compared reactions to the same levels of delay, but this time with Mexican subjects. It was found that Mexicans were more patient than subjects in the United States. In both studies, the outcomes differed when comparing a familiar site with an unfamiliar site, suggesting that interactions should be examined more formally. Experiment 3 (n 160) introduced two other factors from the HCI literature, and with a 2 2 2 ANOVA, we assessed the interactions between delay, site depth, and familiarity with the terminology in the site. As predicted, we found a significant three-way interaction. Consistent with more traditional literature, we also found strong direct effects. Experiment 4 (n 152) employed another 2 2 2 design, but along with delay we analyzed the effects of variability and feedback as interacting variables. Analysis revealed that page-loading feedback is only important when there are long delays, and variability does not seem to be important in influencing attitudes, behavior, and performance of users. Conclusions from the four studies are that user impatience is high; that the results of delay can differ with culture; and that the variables that interact with delay are familiarity with site terminology, depth of the site, and feedback (in a slow site). Variability does not seem to interact with delay.


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Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Galletta, Dennis FGALLETTA@pitt.eduGALLETTA
Henry, Raymond M
McCoy, Scott
Polak, Peter
Date: 2006
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: M.E. Sharpe
Place of Publication: Armonk
Page Range: 29 - 69
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business > Business Administration
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Electronic, Commerce, Response, Time, Web, Site, Design, Web, Delay, Attitudes, Performance, Intentions, Cross-Cultural, Research
ISBN: 9780765621504
Title of Book: Human-computer interaction and management information systems applications
EditorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Official URL:
Additional Information: Author's work appears in part 1 chapter 3 of the publication.
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2012 19:37
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2018 14:05


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