In Yang and Shen’s journal they explore the extent to which web interactivity could effect various psychological outcomes. The goal of the research was to examine the influence of web interactivity across a range of moderating conditions and find opportunities for additional research regarding the effects of interactivity. They conducted 63 studies and found web interactivity had significant connections with user enjoyment, positive attitudes and behavioral intentions, surprisingly however no connection was found between interactivity and knowledge or information recall.
They noted that web interactivity can be measured and even defined differently so, “different studies in the past have measured the effects of web interactivity using different outcome variables such as cognition, enjoyment, attitudes, recalls, and behavioral intentions”, which have produced varying results. In this study they defined interactivity as the “technological attributes of mediated environments that enable reciprocal communication or information exchange, which afford interaction between communication technology and users, or between users through technology”.
They noted how different interactive technologies are transforming communication, and when discussing user interactivity on a website, Yang said interactive functions “transform the nature of the message so significantly that the sheer existence of interactive features can serve as a persuasive message”. In other words, the capabilities that website and internet features can be a message within itself.
They split the effects into 4 different categories that prior studies had focused on; cognition, enjoyment, attitude, and behavioral intention. In the past, the impact of interactivity on cognition (information processing or message recall), suggested mixed results. Some studies found it could help process information while others found it be to overwhelming and people recalled less information with interactive ads. In terms of enjoyment, positive correlations were found between the amount of pleasure and satisfaction experienced by users and level of interactivity. There was also mostly positive attitudes and positive behavioral intentions(recommending a website or revisiting a website), were found in previous studies.
Yang and Shen’s study produced similar results, finding positive correlations between enjoyment, attitude and behavioral intention. Interesting however, they found a nonsignificant relationship between web interactivity and cognition which suggested that web interactivity did not have significant effects on comprehension, elaboration, knowledge acquisition, and found a small negative effect on message recall with further analysis. In conclusion these findings indicated that web interactivity did not necessarily benefit user cognition.