The Effect of Web Search Result Display on Users’ Perceptual Experience and Information Seeking Performance

Hosam Al-Samarraie, Ahmed Isam Al-Hatem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Adding multiple sources of information in the display of Web search results may negatively affect users’ perceptual experience and information-seeking behavior. This claim was established by investigating the impact of different Web search compositions on users’ ability to extract specific information. In this article, we assumed that the quantity and order of different compositions (areas) in the Web search results page may contribute to individual’s ability to find information relevant to their search queries. An eye-tracking device was used to observe and compare the perceptual behavior of 14 users in an information-seeking task. The results showed that the use of different compositions in the display of Web results page significantly influenced users’ perceptual experience by reducing their attention to the organic results area. The quantity of these compositions was found to greatly increase the cognitive load of users when attempting to retrieve information from the organic area, which negatively affects their information-seeking performance. Our finding provides a rationale for further studies to consider the impact of quantity and order of Web page compositions on individuals’ perceptual attention and cognitive load in information-seeking task settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-18
Number of pages9
JournalReference Librarian
Issue number1
Early online date21 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Design layout
  • eye-tracking
  • information engineering
  • information seeking
  • search engine display

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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