This paper describes ongoing research investigating the ways in which language affects both the way users seek and find information on a website, and their eventual level of satisfaction with the site’s offering. Our aim is to understand how language may form a barrier to accessing information, and to identify ways of overcoming these boundaries. We build on the Theory of Information Foraging, which predicts web-page access based on the benefit compared to the costs of accessing additional information. We identify aspects of language that determine the costs and values of a search, thus determining a website’s language-related information value. Behavioural and attitudinal outcomes of perceived information value - website use and satisfaction - are discussed. We formulate hypotheses and a model that are currently empirically evaluated. Advantages of this model are a theoretically grounded derivation of core determinants of perceived information value, and a demonstration that data describing these determinants can be inferred from data that are easily accessible over the Internet. Expected results will provide support for investment decisions concerning website translations and adaptations. Such design decisions can help improve access and participation among citizens from different linguistic backgrounds, thus reducing digital divides arising from language-related factors.
Kralisch, Anett and Koeppen, Veit, "The Impact of Language on Website Use and User Satisfaction: Project Description" (2005). ECIS 2005 Proceedings. 96.