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Abstract

Although animation is commonly used in the web environment, scant scientific evidence can be found either on the effects of animation on viewer information seeking performance or on the implications for online advertising. This paper reports a limited study that provides such scientific evidence. Using research results from visual attention and perception literature to guide the discovery, the study confirms four hypotheses. (1) Animation as a secondary stimulus deteriorates viewer information seeking performance. (2) As the difficulty of the task increases, viewer performance is less affected by animation. (3) Animation that is similar but irrelevant to a task has more negative impact on viewer performance than animation that is dissimilar to the task. (4) Animation that is brightly colored has a stronger negative effect on viewer performance than does dull colored animation. The study sheds light on the applicability of research results in visual attention to the web environment. It also provides practical guidance for content providers and online advertisers as they design and place online ads in web pages.

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