Accessible Requires Authentication Published by Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag 2013

Impact of Gender and Age on performing Search Tasks Online

Georg Singer, Ulrich Norbisrath and Dirk Lewandowski

Abstract

More and more people use the Internet to carry out tasks 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 search engines to also execute rather complex and time consuming search tasks. So far search engines have been following 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 performance. In this article we present a study that examines (1) how female and male Web users carry out simple and complex search tasks, and (2) how the age of the users impacts their search performance. The laboratory study was done with 56 ordinary people carrying out 12 search tasks each. Our findings confirm that age impacts the search performance significantly while gender influences were smaller than expected.