Currently, almost all online materials use hyperlinks to provide users access to background, supplemental, or alternative information presented in context, greatly increasing the potential integration of information. However, a major problem is that people do not navigate hyperlinks effectively when the links become more topologically complex. Thus, identification of the variables that lead to navigational errors is necessary for the effective design of hyperlinks. Ninetyone participants (45 women, 46 men) were recruited for this experiment. All were college students and ranged in age from 19 to 23 yr. (M = 20.87, SD = 1.02). Navigational performance was examined in relation to sex, topological structure, and task type. A network topology with single-node task was superior to one with a linear topology under a single-node task condition, but equal to one with a linear topology under a multi-node task condition. Men navigated the linear topology with multi-node task and a network topology with a single-node task significantly faster than women, whereas no significant differences were observed under the other conditions. Sex interacted with topological structure and task type. This study extended the research in this domain by demonstrating an interactive effect among sex, topological structure, and task type on the navigational performance of users and can contribute to research regarding web page design.
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