Two-Stage Search on Web Pages: Effects of Information Organisation and Task Complexity



In this paper we describe the results of an experimental study of a complex web search. Participants completed a two-stage search task: they were asked to find plane tickets with given parameters. The influence of two factors was considered: (1) web page design and (2) task complexity. We analysed the speed of the search, parameters of eye movements and mouse pointer movements during the search task. The results demonstrated the influence of both factors. Higher task complexity (linked to the higher working memory load) was associated with an increase in the average search time, and also with an increase in the average fixation duration and blink frequency. The organisation of information on web pages determined the strategy used to accomplish the search task. The one-page design resulted in an insignificant increase in search time, and in the use of perceptual search strategies. The two-page design resulted in the use of faster, but more resource demanding cognitive strategies.

General Information

Keywords: web page search, two-stage tasks, task complexity, web design, cognitive load, eye movements, mouse pointer movements

Journal rubric: Psychology of Digital Reality

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Blinnikova I.V., Zlokazova T.A., Grigorovich S.S., Burmistrov I.V. Two-Stage Search on Web Pages: Effects of Information Organisation and Task Complexity. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2020. Vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 15–30. DOI: 10.17759/exppsy.2020130302. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Irina V. Blinnikova, PhD in Psychology, Senior Researcher in the Laboratory of Work Psychology, Department of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Tatiana A. Zlokazova, PhD in Psychology, Senior Researcher in the Laboratory of Work Psychology, Department of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Sergey S. Grigorovich, PhD in Psychology, Senior Researcher in the Laboratory of Work Psychology, Department of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Ivan V. Burmistrov, Researcher in the Laboratory of Work Psychology, Department of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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