As a graduate student, I designed and completed a research experiment for most of my classes. Two of the studies that I really enjoyed were “Web Performance and the Emotional User Experience” and “Usability of Parallax Scrolling”. The Usability of Parallax Scrolling was a fun, simple experiment that came about because, at the time, parallax scrolling was becoming increasingly popular and I was curious about how simply adding a parallax scroll affected the usability of a website, did it make absorbing information from the site more difficult, was it distracting, or did it improve the user experience because it added an interesting level of detail? The Web Performance and the Emotional User Experience study was completed as part of my internship at the Montana State University library. The librarian I was working with had already planned a project to improve the MSU Library website and we thought it would be interesting to test out how emotional a user would become while trying to complete tasks on website with poor performance. You might think it would be obvious, but that’s why we do user research, because you might just be surprised!
Usability of Parallax Scrolling
Across the globe, more and more people are accessing the internet making it increasingly imperative that websites provide a positive user experience. This study focuses on one aspect of user experience, usability. More specifically, this study examines the usability of websites with and without parallax scrolling. Parallax scrolling is a website design function in which the background scrolls at a slower rate than the foreground which creates a sense of depth in two-dimensional spaces. Participants in this study examined one website in two different states, with parallax scrolling and without parallax scrolling. Immediately following the completion of two tasks per website state, participants completed the System Usability Scale (SUS) assessment for each state. Analysis of usability scores from this study revealed that, similar to previous research, there is no significant statistical difference in user perceptions of usability of websites with and without parallax scrolling.
Web Performance and the Emotional User Experience
The system performance of websites has been studied extensively from a technical perspective. The effect of website performance on the user experience has been less extensively examined. This paper aims to increase the understanding of the user experience by investigating the influence of website performance on system usability and the emotional response of users. In this study, participants completed tasks on academic library websites that were each controlled for web performance via throttled network speeds; participants then completed a series of questionnaires measuring usability and emotion. Our findings suggest that website performance influences system usability and the emotional response of users, with poor website performance notably increasing user frustration. We conclude by offering recommendations for practicing UX designers and web developers, who can draw from this study insofar as the results highlight the value of user-centered design by demonstrating a connection between user emotion and web performance.