Media researchers from the Pennsylvania State University studied the responses of 116 undergraduate students to the career section of one of seven Web sites.
Each of the Web sites represented either low, medium, or high levels of interactivity.
Interactive features included: hyperlinks to submit job inquires; hyperlinks for more information on a specific job; the ability to submit an online application; and the ability to view video footage of the company and its employees.
Researchers found a significant positive relationship between the level of interactivity on a career Web site and job seekers’ perception of that organisation.
“We found that college students looking for a job are more likely to apply to companies that have interactive websites with bells and whistles,” said S. Shyam Sundar, who is a professor of film, video and media studies at the university.
“But the students use these features to make a logical connection,” he noted.
The findings suggest that an organisation’s Web site could be tweaked to feature an optimal amount of interactivity to attract a specific target audience.
The study builds on previous research into Web sites of U.S. political candidates, which found that candidates were rated more positively if the site had some interactive features.
However, too much interactivity tended to create a negative effect, researchers found.
“Websites with low to medium levels of interactivity create positive perceptions but for medium to high interactivity, it actually falls down,” said Sundar.
“In general, too much interactivity is not desirable, and may lead to information overload.”
As interactive features encourage a Web site user to be more involved in the viewing process, researchers expect such features to amplify a user’s response to the content of the site.
Sundar likened the effect of Web site interactivity to a volume knob that boosts positive or negative perceptions associated with the site and its content.
“Interactivity is multi-faceted in terms of the meanings it communicates. It is not just about interaction alone,” he said.
“We found that both liking and involvement are significant mediators such that people who saw a high interactive website liked it more, and they also got involved as a result of liking it more,” he explained.
Interactive Web sites attract job seekers, researchers say
By Liz Tay on May 27, 2008 10:18AM