Affiliated Organization

Case Western Reserve University, USA


The World Wide Web has become the medium of choice for the distribution and use of information by individuals, teams, organizations, and communities. Web sites—the collection of web pages that make up the World Wide Web—are the fundamental means by which that information is retrieved and distributed. Understanding the factors that impact the complexity of a web site is a key step toward effective retrieval and distribution of information and its ultimate use in collaborative activity.This paper proposes three major dimensions of factors that impact the complexity of a web site: (1) cognition, (2) content, and (3) form. These three dimensions and their associated factors comprise how individuals perceive a web site, the content that is located at the site, and the manner in which the web site is constructed. A model and associated propositions are presented, and implications of this approach for research and practice are discussed. This multi-dimensional view of web site complexity provides a richer approach to understanding how complexity might be examined and, ultimately, reduced. This paper relates to collaborative work through individuals and their interaction with a web site. This interaction is, in fact, a communication between the individual using a web site and an individual, group, or organization responsible for the design of the web site. Additionally, the individual perspective is a necessary starting point for collaborative use between and among people.