Impact of Gender and Age on Performing Search Tasks Online

Singer, G., Norbisrath, U., & Lewandowski, D. (2012). Impact of Gender and Age on performing Search Tasks Online. In H. Reiterer & O. Deussen (Hrsg.), Mensch & Computer 2012 (S. 23–32). München: Oldenbourg Verlag.

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More and more people use the Internet to work on duties of their daily work routine. To find the right information online, Web search engines are the tools of their choice. Apart from finding facts, people use Web search engines to also execute rather complex and time consuming search tasks. So far search engines follow the one-for-all approach to serve its users and little is known about the impact of gender and age on people´s Web search behavior. In this article we present a study that examines (1) how female and male web users carry out simple and complex search tasks and what are the differences between the two user groups, and (2) how the age of the users impacts their search performance. The laboratory study was done with 56 ordinary people each carrying out 12 search tasks. Our findings confirm that age impacts behavior and search performance significantly, while gender influences were smaller than expected.