Conference Paper

Off the beaten tracks: Exploring three aspects of Web navigation

DOI: 10.1145/1135777.1135802 Conference: Proceedings of the 15th international conference on World Wide Web, WWW 2006, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, May 23-26, 2006
Source: DBLP


This paper presents results of a long-term client-side Web usage study, updating previous studies that range in age from five to ten years. We focus on three aspects of Web navigation: changes in the distribution of navigation actions, speed of navigation and within-page navigation. "Navigation actions" corresponding to users' individual page re- quests are discussed by type. We reconfirm links to be the most important navigation element, while backtracking has lost more than half of its previously reported share and form submission has become far more common. Changes of the Web and the browser interfaces are candidates for causing these changes. Analyzing the time users stayed on pages, we confirm Web navi- gation to be a rapidly interactive activity. A breakdown of page characteristics shows that users often do not take the time to read the available text or consider all links. The performance of the Web is analyzed and reassessed against the resulting require- ments. Finally, habits of within-page navigation are presented. Although most selected hyperlinks are located in the top left corner of the screen, in nearly a quarter of all cases people choose links that require scrolling. We analyzed the available browser real estate to gain insights for the design of non-scrolling Web pages.

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    • "For tractability, we will continue to use an exponential distribution (which, notably, is a Weibull distribution with a shape parameter of one) in the channel developed here, though we now utilize a scaling parameter for tuning. The reader is urged to reference [9], [8], and [13] when developing a behaviorally accurate implementation of the channel discussed here. However one models average web transaction behavior, the dynamic nature of the web makes prediction of read-time difficult in uncontrolled environments. "
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    ABSTRACT: A network covert channel is created that operates by modulating the time between web resource accesses, with an 'average web user' read-time used as a reference. While the covert channel may be classified as timing based, it does not operate by changing deterministic protocol attributes such as inter-packet delay, as do most timing based network covert channels. Instead, our channel communicates by modulating transaction level read-time, which in the web browsing case has significant non-deterministic components. The channel is thus immune to methods typically used to detect timing based network covert channels.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2014
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    • "Research shown in [12], [11], and [18] demonstrate that the Nielsen formula for computing average read-time based on page word count is over simplified. To better emulate user timing behavior, our channel would need to include the results developed in those sources. "
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    ABSTRACT: A network covert channel is created that uses resource names such as addresses to convey information, and that approximates typical user behavior in order to blend in with its environment. The channel correlates available resource names with a user defined code-space, and transmits its covert message by selectively accessing resources associated with the message codes. In this paper we focus on an implementation of the channel using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) with Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) as the message names, though the system can be used in conjunction with a variety of protocols. The covert channel does not modify expected protocol structure as might be detected by simple inspection, and our HTTP implementation emulates transaction level web user behavior in order to avoid detection by statistical or behavioral analysis.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2014
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    • "For multitasking, they observed users interacting with another tab while waiting for the original one to load, i.e., tab switching. More recently, a Web navigation study by Weinreich et al. [21] found that their participants frequently used multiple windows, enabling them to compare search results side-by-side, load pages in the background while they continued browsing, and retain important pages in their sessions for backtracking. Weinreich et al. also found that the participants who used tabs backtracked less than those who did not. "
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    ABSTRACT: Today's Web browsers allow users to open links in new windows or tabs. This action, which we call 'branching', is sometimes performed on search results when the user plans to eventually visit multiple results. We detect branching behavior on a large commercial search engine with a client-side script on the results page. Two-fifths of all users spawned new tabs on search results in the timeframe of our study; branching usage varied with different query types and vertical. Both branching and backtracking are viable methods for visiting multiple search results. To understand user search strategies, we treat multiple result clicks following a query as ordered events to understand user search strategies. Users branching in a query are more likely to click search results from top to bottom, while users who backtrack are less likely to do so; this is especially true for queries involving more than two clicks. These findings inform an experiment in which we take a popular click model and modify it to account for the differing user behavior when branching. By understanding that users continue examining search results before viewing a branched result, we can improve the click model for branching queries.
    Preview · Conference Paper · May 2012
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