Information foraging theory1 gives us a useful analogy for explaining user behavior when searching for information: Much as they might in a forest, users try to follow the scent of their prey. On the Web, this scent takes the form of visual clues, for the most part links displayed either in navigation panels or within the content area of each page. A central tenet of this theory is that users attempt to maximize the gain of useful information while minimizing the cost of their effort in obtaining it. This can be seen by observing users performing information-gathering tasks during…
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