n Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa - Changes in users' Web search performance after ten years




The changes in users' Web search performance using search engines over ten years was investigated in this study. Matched data obtained from samples in 2000 and 2010 were used for the comparative analysis. The patterns of Web search engine use suggested a dominance in using a particular search engine. Statistical comparisons for performance measures (i.e. time, number of steps, satisfaction, and accuracy) were taken. Since users' exposure to Web search engines had increased significantly in the intervening years, Web experience was used as a covariate for the two primary search performance measures (time and steps). The results indicated that the 2010 sample had improved significantly across all performance measures with the exception of satisfaction. In contrast to expectations, Web experience did not act as a covariate in the majority of instances and so it is likely that improvements in search performance were due to technical developments of Web search engines and the increasing size of the Web.


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