Paragraphs or Lists? The Effects of Text Structure on Web Sites

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This paper describes a study that we conducted to investigate the effects of the visual text structure on Web sites on the users' browsing behavior and on their appreciation for the Web site. It has been known for a long time that the visual structure of a text has considerable effects on reading behavior, but surprisingly little research has been done to define guidelines for the structure of texts on Web sites. We compared two versions of a Web site, one version contained text structured using paragraphs, the other version contained mainly text structured as numbered lists. Over 300 participants browsed one version of the site, and answered a survey about the content of the Web site and about their appreciation for the site. The results show that participants who used a Web site with text structured as lists performed better than participants who used a Web site with text structured using paragraphs: they visited more Web pages and they appreciated the site better.
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publication2007 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference (IPCC 2007). CD Rom
Place of PublicationSeattle, WA
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2007
EventIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2007 - Seattle, United States
Duration: 1 Oct 20073 Oct 2007


ConferenceIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2007
Abbreviated titleIPCC
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Information Retrieval
  • Web sites
  • Non-controlled Indexing Web pages
  • reading behavior
  • user browsing behaviour
  • IR-61641
  • visual text structure
  • METIS-241454
  • Human Factors

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