Empirical study of navigation aids in customer interfaces

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Designing effective navigation aids for customer interfaces is critical for the success of cyber shopping malls. Navigation aids can be classified into either basic ones which are based on the structure of the malls or add-ons which are not. Add-on navigation aids provide various short-cuts to promote efficient traversal of the cyber shopping malls, but too many of them would increase the complexity of the customer interface. Metaphors have been used widely for the design of add-on navigation aids, but little research evaluates their impact on the processes and outcomes of customers' behavior in cyber shopping malls. This paper presents an empirical study that investigates the navigation process of customers and the subjective evaluation of their shopping experience. This research implemented two versions of a test-bed cyber shopping mall according to different metaphors used; one based on a spatial metaphor, and the other based on a non spatial metaphor. The results of the experiment indicate that navigation aids based on the spatial metaphor were used more frequently, which resulted in better understanding about the entire structure of the cyber shopping malls, which in turn led to an increased ease of finding target items and also a more pleasant shopping experience. The benefits of navigation aids based on the spatial metaphor became more evident when customers were looking for ad hoc category items rather than common items. This paper presents plausible explanations for the results and implications for the design of navigation aids for cyber shopping malls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-224
Number of pages12
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999 May

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Soft Science Research Grant from the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology. The author would like to thank Dacom Interpark for their generosity in allowing us to use their cyber shopping mall as the basis of this study. Also special thanks to Michael Bieber, Murray TuroŒ, and Byounggon Yoo for their invaluable comments.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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