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    Reading, Processing and Interacting with Hypertext on the Web

    HCI 2016 - Fusion!

    Proceedings of the 30th International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI 2016)

    Bournemouth University, Poole, UK, 11 - 15 July 2016


    Gemma Fitzsimmons, Mark J Weal & Denis Drieghe



    We increasingly spend a vast amount of time on the Web and much of that time is spent reading. One of the main differences between reading non-Web based text and reading on the Web is the presence of hyperlinks within the text, linking various related Web content and Web pages together. Some researchers and commentators have claimed that hyperlinks hinder reading because they are a distraction that may have a negative effect on the reader’s ability to process the text. However, very few controlled experiments have been conducted to verify these claims. In the experiments documented here we utilise eye tracking as a new methodology for examining how we read hyperlinked text. There is a well-documented tight link between when and where we look and what we process. Eye movements have been used extensively to help us to understand the cognitive processing that occurs during reading, but there has been very little research into how our reading differs when we read information on the Web.


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