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Effects of User Control and Perceived Message Tailoring on Responses to a Health Web Site
Unformatted Document Text:  5 Perceived message tailoring. We expect users who first receive topic-relevant assessment questions about their own levels of stress and methods of stress management before reading a stress management web site will perceive that the information in the web site has been tailored especially for them as individuals. H3: Users who respond to topic-relevant assessment questions before they see the content of a web site will, when they see the web site, perceive that it is tailored for them, and users who respond to topic-irrelevant assessment questions will not perceive any message tailoring in the web site. Perceived personal relevance. Users who perceive that messages have been tailored for them will be likely to feel that the information is personally relevant. H4: Users who perceive that messages have been tailored for them will consider the information to be more personally relevant to them, compared to users who do not perceieve any message tailoring. Quality of the content. Users who perceive that messages have been tailored should form a more favorable impression of the interactive system and its contents than those who do not perceive message tailoring. H5: Users who experience perceived message tailoring will rate the quality of the content more highly than users who do not experience perceived message tailoring. Informativeness of the web site. Users who experience perceived message tailoring will elaborate the messages and process them more deeply, and will therefore retain more information and consider the web site to be more informative than those who do not experience perceived message tailoring. H6: Users who experience message tailoring will rate the content as more informative than users who do not experience perceived message tailoring Methods An experiment with a 2x2 design was conducted with 117 university undergraduates. To participate in this study, participants sat at a computer workstation where they were given a web address and were asked to look at the web site at that address. The web site first displayed four questions for them to answer about their health. When they submitted their answers they then saw the Home page of a web site about stress management. The web site included a definition of stress, its symptoms and causes, how to prevent stress, and what to do to reduce stress when it occurs. Participants read the stress management information on the web site and after ten minutes (which was not enough time for them to read everything available in the web site) were asked to stop. They then typed in their answers to online questions asking them to evaluate the web site they just saw. All participants had access to the same information about stress management in the web site and the same pages of content, which came from reputable sources such as the National Institutes of Health and major healthcare providers. However, the information available from these sources was reformatted to have a consistent appearance and layout in the site. Nowhere on the experimental web site was there any indication where the content came from or when it was created. The graphics of the site were modest and sparse. All pages contained simple graphics in the header and the main section of the page usually contained text only. The look and feel of the site was intentionally made to be simple and straightforward.

Authors: Lieberman, Debra., Lingsweiler, Ryan., Yao, Mike. and Chesler, Zachary.
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Perceived message tailoring. We expect users who first receive topic-relevant assessment questions
about their own levels of stress and methods of stress management before reading a stress management
web site will perceive that the information in the web site has been tailored especially for them as
individuals.
H3: Users who respond to topic-relevant assessment questions before they see the content of a
web site will, when they see the web site, perceive that it is tailored for them, and users
who respond to topic-irrelevant assessment questions will not perceive any message
tailoring in the web site.

Perceived personal relevance. Users who perceive that messages have been tailored for them will be
likely to feel that the information is personally relevant.
H4: Users who perceive that messages have been tailored for them will consider the
information to be more personally relevant to them, compared to users who do not
perceieve any message tailoring.
Quality of the content. Users who perceive that messages have been tailored should form a more
favorable impression of the interactive system and its contents than those who do not perceive message
tailoring.
H5: Users who experience perceived message tailoring will rate the quality of the content
more highly than users who do not experience perceived message tailoring.

Informativeness of the web site. Users who experience perceived message tailoring will elaborate the
messages and process them more deeply, and will therefore retain more information and consider the web
site to be more informative than those who do not experience perceived message tailoring.
H6: Users who experience message tailoring will rate the content as more informative than
users who do not experience perceived message tailoring
Methods

An experiment with a 2x2 design was conducted with 117 university undergraduates. To participate in
this study, participants sat at a computer workstation where they were given a web address and were
asked to look at the web site at that address. The web site first displayed four questions for them to
answer about their health. When they submitted their answers they then saw the Home page of a web site
about stress management. The web site included a definition of stress, its symptoms and causes, how to
prevent stress, and what to do to reduce stress when it occurs. Participants read the stress management
information on the web site and after ten minutes (which was not enough time for them to read everything
available in the web site) were asked to stop. They then typed in their answers to online questions asking
them to evaluate the web site they just saw.

All participants had access to the same information about stress management in the web site and the same
pages of content, which came from reputable sources such as the National Institutes of Health and major
healthcare providers. However, the information available from these sources was reformatted to have a
consistent appearance and layout in the site. Nowhere on the experimental web site was there any
indication where the content came from or when it was created. The graphics of the site were modest and
sparse. All pages contained simple graphics in the header and the main section of the page usually
contained text only. The look and feel of the site was intentionally made to be simple and straightforward.


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