Author: Xigen Li
Publication: Impact of Web Design Approach on News Retrieval Efficiency, paper presented to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications 2001 convention, available in the AEJMC archive.
This study examined how readers pulled information from newspaper Web sites with varying levels of design and graphics. The researcher refers to the “efficiency of news retrieval”: How fast and easy could a user find what he was looking for?
The newspaper sites in the study were USA Today, which was selected for its strong emphasis on graphics; the Washington Post, which was selected for its balance between text and visual elements; and the Chicago Tribune, which is more reliant on text than either of the two others.
The study found that readers retrieve news more efficiently when consulting pages designed with a balance of photos, graphics and text than when consulting text-heavy pages.