Accessing elaborations on core information in a hypermedia environment

  • Thomas M. Welsh
  • Kelly P. Murphy
  • Thomas M. Duffy
  • David A. Goodrum


Strategies for managing information in a hypermedia learning environment require the text to carry indicators that describe the presence and type of additional information available from a specific point on a computer text screen. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of link display strategy and link density on ease of use and measures of interaction. Independent variables were link strategy (three levels) and link density (two levels), yielding six treatment groups (n = 108). Within-subjects variables were time interval and type of elaboration accessed. Dependent measures were time spent on elaborations, number of elaborations accessed, and ease of use. Primary findings were that indicating all elaborations by common link indicators in the text reduced readability and led to more extensive and random browsing behavior in users; that indicating elaborations by destination-specific link indicators in the text reduced readability and increased users' tendency to target specific elaborations; and that locating link indicators in submenus increased ratings on ease of use but drastically reduced the number of elaborations accessed and time spent reading elaborations. These findings lead to the conclusion that hypermedia designers will have to make choices between promoting exploration and reducing screen readability.


Educational Technology Primary Finding Specific Elaboration Common Link Link Density 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas M. Welsh
    • 1
  • Kelly P. Murphy
    • 1
  • Thomas M. Duffy
    • 1
  • David A. Goodrum
    • 2
  1. 1.the Department of Instructional Systems TechnologyIndiana University in BloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.the Center for Media and Teaching ResourcesIndiana University in BloomingtonUSA

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