Formal features of cyberspace: relationships between web page complexity and site traffic

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79 Scopus citations


Although the Internet is not without its critics, many popular and academic writers are particularly effusive in their praise of the World Wide Web's interactive features. A content analysis of the formal features of 496 Web sites, drawn randomly from a sample of the top 5,000 most visited sites determined by, was performed to explore whether the capabilities of the World Wide Web are being exploited by Web page designers to the extent that the literature suggests they are. Specifically, the study examines the differences between the formal features of commercial versus non-commercial sites as well as the relationship between Web page complexity and the amount of traffic a site receives. Findings indicate that, although most pages in this stage of the Web's development remain technologically simple and noninteractive, there are significant relationships between site traffic and home-page structure for Web sites in the commercial (.com) as well as educational (.edu) domains. As the Web continues to expand and the amount of information redundancy increases, it is argued that a site's information packaging will become increasingly important in gaining users' attention and interest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1246-1256
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1999


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