Year of Publication


Date of Thesis


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Communications (School)

Subject Categories

Web sites -- Design; Human-computer interaction; User interfaces (Computer systems); Graphical user interfaces (Computer systems)


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of spatial and non-spatial interface metaphors on user recall, recognition, navigation, and perception. This study was a randomized independent variable mixed methods study that used a convenience sample of thirty participants. In order to assess the effect of spatial and non-spatial metaphors, the researcher designed two websites: one based upon a non-spatial metaphor of an Index and the other based upon a spatial metaphor of the Ithaca College campus. Participants were asked to search for a number of on-campus positions that matched a description they had been given. Participants' navigation was tracked during the job-searching task. Following the completion of the task, participants were given a short two-part retention test that asked them to first recall and then recognize all positions and duties they had seen. The final part of the experiment involved a short one-one interview with the researcher, which sought to determine the users' perceptions of the interface. Participant's navigation, recall, recognition, and perceptions were examined against information collected at the beginning of the experiment in a short questionnaire about general demographics, computer and internet usage, and previous work experience. This study demonstrated that there was no significant difference between the spatial and non-spatial metaphors in navigation, user perceptions, or recognition of the information in the interface. A significant difference between the two interfaces was found for the recall of the positions. significant differences were also found in the task accuracy based upon programming ability, user operating system, and computer and internet use.

Included in

Communication Commons



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